Back to news

Groundbreaking apprentice society and benefit card to launch

Friday 24 June 2011 NUS News

On Wednesday 22 June Harlow MP Robert Halfon, and the National Union of Students (NUS) launched a major new business-backed association and benefit card designed specifically for apprentices.

They will also be supported by Skills Minister John Hayes MP, who has welcomed the project

Developed by NUS and Robert Halfon MP and launched with partner employers such as:

  • GTA England
  • PERA
  • Kaplan
  • Harlow College
  • And the Association of Accounting Technicians

The Apprentice Card will give apprentices benefits of the NUS Extra Card, such as high street discounts, along with events and advice.

The society will provide a unique charitable fund to enable apprentices, their providers and employers to work together to improve the learning experience.

Robert Halfon MP for Harlow said:

"For many months I have worked with NUS and employers to develop a national society of apprentices: starting with the Apprentice Card."

"The Card will finally put apprentices on a level playing-field with students, with the same financial benefits. But this is not just about economic efficiency: it is about social justice as well. That's why I was also among the first MPs to employ an apprentice in my Westminster office." 

"Sadly, just 28 per cent of British workers qualify to become apprentices or technically skilled. In France, it is 51 per cent. In Germany it is 65 per cent."

"Our economy must not lag behind. For growth and jobs, we need to make apprenticeships the Plan A for our brightest young people." 

Shane Chowen, NUS Vice President (Further Education) said:

"The huge growth in both the demand for and provision of apprenticeships demonstrates the benefit they bring to employers and hundreds of thousands of apprentices but also the need to ensure a joined up national support network and access to life-enhancing benefits." 

"NUS has been working closely with politicians and employers to improve the benefits and support available to apprentices and the National Society of Apprentices and ApprenticeCard will provide groundbreaking access to discounts, events and advice for work-based learners across the country."

Mark Maudsley, CEO of launch partner GTA England, said:

"Our research with apprentices has told us it is not just about the benefits of discounts and products (welcome though they are) but of the opportunity to become involved in a national arrangement where the Apprentice voice can be articulated and heard.”

"For us, this launch goes some way in creating parity with other forms of learning available across the sector and we are proud to be involved in contributing to developing arrangements"#

John Hayes MP, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning said:

"The Government is supporting the greatest number of apprenticeships our country has ever seen because we want more young people to develop the advanced practical skills that fuel growth and build fulfilling and productive careers." 

"To elevate vocational learning and competence, it is right that the hard work, skill and dedication of apprentices is recognised and rewarded alongside the achievements of other learners."

"By reaching out to apprentices NUS is celebrating the worth of practical accomplishment, and helping to build a more cohesive and fairer society."