Time for Sandwell to wake up to apprenticeships


Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (March 4th– 8th) Sanjeev Gill, Head of Engagement at Sandwell College, and a member of Sandwell Business Ambassadors, questions why many employers in the borough have not yet tapped into the opportunities on offer through apprenticeships


Apprenticeships are rarely out of the news these days – from debate over the merits of the levy, to the Government’s latest Fire It Up campaign.

They are an amazing alternative to higher education, offering the best of both worlds: high quality training, coupled with a salary, offering young people a different route into the workplace, while employers have access to a pipeline of incredible untapped talent.

In my experience, however, Sandwell is massively different from Birmingham, where it’s so much easier to get businesses to switch on to these opportunities.

Sadly, many employers in Sandwell are still not fully aware of the benefits of taking on an apprentice – particularly owner-managers who are incredibly hands-on and perhaps do not have time to fully investigate what apprenticeships can offer them and their business.

Many of these employers have an ageing workforce but will often not have a long-term strategy in place to deal with this, until it hits them and it’s too late. This is exactly why apprenticeships were created.

For both parties involved in apprenticeships, we take away the potential headaches. For applicants, the National Apprenticeship website shows all vacancies available anywhere in the West Midlands, while for employers, there’s the reassurance that we do all the shortlisting and checking for the employer, and only present the candidates we think will be good enough.

The Apprenticeship Levy has been something of a hot potato, but again a lot of that is down to perceptions and understanding. Many organisations haven’t used the levy pot because they either didn’t recognise its value (their accountants will!) or they don’t know how it would be implemented in the workforce.

When we sit down with new employers and explain to them the process, they become 100% on board; if they had a job vacancy and couldn’t afford that budget, why wouldn’t they put an apprentice in here?

At Sandwell College, we practise what we preach; I have an apprentice in my own team, and we have apprentices on reception who meet and greet. They’re really valued members of the team, and it’s wonderful to see them grow and develop in terms of skills and confidence and as people.

It’s time for employers in Sandwell to wake up to what an apprentice could mean for them and their business.


The Ambassadors are a collective of business people in the Sandwell area with the aim of supporting the Sandwell Business Community.

Find out more


See below for the most frequently asked questions.

View FAQs

Contact us

If you want to find out more about the Ambassadors or how we can help you, please see below to get in touch.

Get in touch

Other news

  • 50forWM50: Nominate inspirational volunteers

    The West Midlands is 50 this year and West Midlands...

    Read more
  • International Women’s Day: inspire inclusion – and boost business

    International Women’s Day is an annual, global celebration of the...

    Read more
  • Sandwell Council recognised for mental health initiative

    Sandwell Council initiative Sandwell Better Mental Health is nominated for...

    Read more