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“The young people in this room, you are the future of business. You will be our future business leaders and owners.”

This was part of the speech Mike Ashton – CEO of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, gave to a group of 40 or so apprentices and young professionals on January 25th at the first Apprentices in Business (AiB) Event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. AiB is a free event which takes place on the last Wednesday of every other month to inspire young professionals to network with other apprentices and local businesses. Each event will have a relevant theme and speaker to motivate and develop individuals in their careers. I found out about the AiB event through a local newsletter and through my HR Manager at work.

This month’s key speaks were Mike Ashton and Kim Cook. Kim is the Managing Director of the Worcestershire Training Provider Association (WTPA). WTPA are a not-for-profit network of training providers, Further Education Colleges, and voluntary/third sector organisations delivering Apprenticeships, Traineeships, and Study Programmes for adults and young people in Worcestershire.

The AiB event allowed the 40 of us apprentices and young professionals to network with one another and learn more from Kim about Degree and Higher Apprenticeships. When I started my apprenticeship four years ago, Degree Apprenticeships were not really available or easily accessible. Once your level three apprenticeship was completed, and if both you and your employer were keen to continue your development to degree level, then this was the best way of studying for a degree.

That has all changed! There are companies who now offer apprenticeships straight at degree level. This movement shows just how much companies are starting to consider apprenticeships at all levels, not just your basic level two and three’s anymore. The value of apprenticeships is climbing, and my hope is that you grab a hold and climb with it.

If you are an apprentice or young professional, between the age of 18 and 24, and you would like to give networking and learning about local businesses a go, then I strongly suggest you come along to the next AiB event on March 29th. I went along by myself and found everyone was easy to talk to. If you have some apprentices at work who would also be keen to get involved, bring them along! Did I mention the food and drinks are free?!

A massive thank you to Abi, Lauren and Yasmin for organising the event, and the team building activity. I’m already looking forward to next time and what you have in store for us!

If you would like to find out more about the Apprentices in Business events and how to get involved, visit


Until next time! For regular updates, follow @No1_apprentice