Westminster Employment Forum

Improving participation and diversity in apprenticeships - tackling skills gaps, raising awareness and supporting under-represented groups

Morning, Thursday, 26th April 2018

Royal Aeronautical Society, 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ


This seminar will focus on the progress made by Government towards achieving its aim to create 3m apprenticeship starts by 2020, and what more can be done to improve diversity in those taking up apprenticeships as a career path.

Delegates will consider the further action that will be required from policymakers, as well as training providers, employers and universities to reach the target as stakeholders adjust to an updated funding system. They will also assess the success of apprenticeships in improving life chances, as well as the steps that can be taken to increase awareness of apprenticeships as a career route.

Further sessions discuss next steps for achieving greater diversity, following the establishment of the Apprenticeship Diversity and Participation Network. Those attending will discuss how Government can achieve their aims to raise the proportion of new apprenticeship starts by BAME individuals and people with disabilities, as well as measures to address gender imbalance that exists within some sectors, such as in construction and engineering.

The seminar will bring together policymakers with key stakeholders including schools, representatives of employers and trade associations, careers advisors, universities, FE colleges and training providers, academics, and reporters from the national and trade media.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Neil Bentley

Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK and Member, Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network

Paul Warner

Director of Research and Development, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Anthony Impey

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Optimity and Member, Skills for Londoners Taskforce


Baroness Berridge

Kevin Cowley

Head of Apprenticeships Strategy and Delivery, Home Office


Peter Mayhew-Smith

Group Principal and Chief Executive Officer, South Thames Colleges Group

Peter Finegold

Head of Education Policy, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Petra Wilton

Director of Strategy & External Affairs, CMI

Aldaine Cohen

Apprentice Office Assistant, Mencap

Beatrice Barleon

Policy Development Manager, Mencap

Ann Watson

Chief Executive Officer, Semta

Matthew Hussey

Public Affairs Officer, The Children’s Society

Brenda Cabras

Director of Employment and Skills, Prospects

Simon Hawthorn

Leadership Team, National Society of Apprentices

Iain Murray

Senior Policy Officer, TUC