Press release:

Celebration recognises value of apprenticeships to UK economy

Friday 10 February 2023

London - The remarkable contributions of apprentices and the value of life long learning to the UK economy was celebrated yesterday evening at an event hosted by the Chartered Management Institute.

The celebration brought together apprentices with leading voices in Government and business, including Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, MP and John Lewis Partnership Chairman, Dame Sharon White.

Ann Francke OBE, chief executive of CMI said:

Apprenticeships are doing their part in the wider skills system to give people of all ages the chance to learn new skills, while equipping  employers with the talent pool they are telling us that they need.

In addition to the proven productivity boost of degree apprenticeships, we are also seeing those who missed out on - or were denied - educational opportunities when they were younger accessing their first high quality experience. They are going on to identify innovations, helping their organisations to grow, and in turn hire new staff - including young people - and to support them once there.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

My apprenticeship was my golden ticket to an international business career, and our skills agenda is all about ensuring people get the fantastic skills and opportunities apprenticeships can offer.

We know that businesses need skilled workers to drive innovation and growth, and we’re backing apprenticeships to plug those gaps, with £2.7 billion additional funding. We are also working with UCAS to put apprenticeships on an equal footing with degrees by enabling young people to search and apply through their platform.

Dame Sharon White, Chairman, John Lewis Partnership said:

We want to encourage social mobility, and apprenticeships can play a vital role by supporting people to earn while they learn, retrain or upskill. But there's more we can all do collectively to make sure that everyone can access and take advantage of the opportunities our economy  has to offer whatever stage they are in their careers.

Sally Bristow, a management apprentice with micro-SME Diamond Hard Surfaces in Northamptonshire, a materials technology firm, said of her experience:

Doing a degree apprenticeship gave me a chance to develop my skills and identify areas where we could be doing more to grow our international trade. I had a chance to study alongside people from different industries and at very different stages of their career. We were extremely well supported and we learned from one another.

Paige Morgan, who did her management apprenticeship with Transport for London and was recently promoted to manage a trains depot, said she didn’t see herself going down the route of a university degree.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do and an apprenticeship gave me that time and chance to work and learn and gain a degree as well. I would say any stigma about an apprenticeship has completely changed - both are appreciated equally.

CMI was joined at the event by our Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO.



  • 71% of management apprentices are from families where neither parent went to university, demonstrating that they support social mobility.
  • 39% of CMI management apprentices are from a lower socioeconomic background (compared to 36% in the UK labour force as a whole and 27% in higher education).
  • One third of apprenticeships are degree level and CMI data indicates that management degree-level apprenticeships lead to in excess of 20% productivity gains.
  • 97% of CMI management apprentices said they were more committed to upskilling the people who work for them, helping to ease the UK’s long-standing underinvestment in training. UK employers currently spend half of the European average on employee training.

CMI’s analysis of the English model of apprenticeships found that apprentices qualified in 2019 are projected to add £7bn to the economy by the end of 2029, based on an initial training investment of £2bn - a 300% return on investment.

- Ends -

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About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the Chartered professional body for Management and Leadership, counting over 180,000 managers and leaders in its membership community. There are currently over 14,000 Chartered Managers and growing. Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status – the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability, and impact in the workplace.