Communication Regulator Ofcom join The 5% Club

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We are delighted to welcome Ofcom to The 5% Club.

Best known as an independent communication regulator and competition authority, Ofcom is involved across TV, radio, telecoms, mobiles, postal service and even the airwaves that are used to run wireless devices.

However, they are also incredibly aware that as technology changes the shape of our society, so do the demands required of employers and businesses. This is why they have joined The 5% Club, which recognises the value of graduates and apprentices in the work force.

For graduates, Ofcom offer an extensive, intensive job placement scheme that has them moving regularly between projects and departments to help them find out what interests them, what they’re good at, and also ensuring they end up with a broad as well as deep knowledge of the company and the industry.

The apprentices who join the Ofcom Apprenticeship Scheme undertake a two-year programme during which time they become an integral part of the diverse Field Operations team.

Spending time in the field being mentored by an experienced engineer, and dealing with real day-to-day issues, ranging from small-scale local domestic TV interference through to problems with the communications systems of the emergency services and mobile phone networks, they learn from the outset how to be part of this exciting company.

One of their apprentices, Luke Wynn-Jones, started working for Ofcom after his A-Levels in 2013.LukeWynn_Jones PictureBehind his decision to do an apprenticeship rather than attend university, Luke explained, “I was keen to start working but did not want to stop learning. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get helpful, real life work experience and continue to learn.”

For Luke, Ofcom represented a fantastic, if not perfect, opportunity for him to get real life experience, to keep learning but outside of a classroom.

“I chose Ofcom because of my interest in the communications industry and the interesting relevant work that they do to support the growth of UK communication network,” He said, talking about how he now works for the Public Sector Spectrum Release project, which is release a spectrum used by the Ministry of Defence for mobile broadband.

Learning on the job, supplemented by internal and external course, Ofcom supported Luke through the programme as well as helped him to gain further qualifications such as a NVQ level 2 in Business Administration.

He added that he is also currently in the process of doing a Project Management qualification, which will help him not only in the short-term but in the long-term as a leader within the Ofcom team.

The 5% Club are delighted to have Ofcom join the team of businesses investing in the next generation and are sure their programmes will continue to be successful.


Dale Power Solutions at the National Apprenticeship Awards


The National Apprenticeship Service has awarded Dale Power Solutions the ‘The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Medium employer of the Year’ for their apprentice programme. In addition, their apprentice Natasha Pitts won her second ‘Unilever Award for Higher Apprentice of the Year’, making it an exceptional night of celebration at the Yorkshire & Humberside regional apprenticeship awards.

The winners were announced at a high-profile awards ceremony organised by the National Apprenticeship Service and held at the iconic Carriage works theatre in Leeds on Wednesday the 3rd September.

The 5% Club_DalePowerSolutionsDale Power Solutions apprenticeship programme first began in the 1940’s. Since then, the scheme has been recognised nationally as a top 100 UK apprentice employer, their apprentices winning regional and national accolades. They attract many of the nation’s brightest apprentices, answering where the power of apprenticeships could take you.

Nick Wilson, Deputy Director Employer & Delivery Services North East (including Yorkshire and Humber), said:

“The National Apprenticeship Awards are an excellent platform to recognise and celebrate the dedication shown by all our excellent Apprenticeship employers and apprentices.”

“Apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity, and events like the National Apprenticeship Awards showcase just how beneficial they are for both employers and individuals. I hope everyone who received an award on the night is proud of their achievements, and continues to fly the flag for Apprenticeships throughout their career.”

“Those who have won should celebrate their success. But every apprentice and EMPLOYER who entered can be proud of what they have achieved.”

Mark Carter, Business Support Manager comments “This is a great achievement for the team at Dale Power Solutions. 25% of our workforce began their career as an apprentice, which have given our apprentices excellent role models to work with. Every apprentice enrolled with Dale Power Solutions is assigned a mentor in their workplace, who is responsible for sharing their knowledge, supporting, and motivating the apprentice to achieve their full potential.”

August saw Dale Power Solutions ‘class of 2014’ commence the first year of their 4 year apprenticeship program. The intake of five apprentices includes two female electrical engineering apprentices, demonstrating that engineering is not just for men. This has taken our 5% Club figure to 8.1% (number of apprentices within the workforce), highlighting our commitment to apprenticeships and local communities.

Due to the success of the apprenticeship program, Dale Power Solutions are excited to announce that we will be expanding the programme to offer business and administration, including routes into IT, finance and supply chain management. Further recruitment is now underway.

Natasha Pitts on winning the Higher Apprentice of the year award: “It is a real Honour to have gained the Higher Apprentice of the Year Award for the Yorkshire and Humber Region two years in a row. Dale Power Solutions have been extremely supportive throughout my apprenticeship. Dale continually provides me with challenges to enable me to progress my career and engineering experiences. My success is thanks to the support of Dale Power Solutions and all my work colleagues who helped me throughout my apprenticeship”.

Tim Wilkins, CEO of Dale Power Solutions commented:

“Dale Power Solutions are extremely proud of Natasha’s achievements. Her efforts and skill set demonstrates our commitment towards attracting and retaining the best talent within the industry and to ensuring our clients receive quality engineering services.”

As part of our corporate and social responsibility strategy Dale Power Solutions is committed to making a sustainable positive impact on the communities in which we operate. With this in mind Dale Power Solutions are supporting the new local employability Charter, bringing schools and businesses together to provide opportunities for young people to gain an insight into work, jobs and the development of skills and other qualities to increase employability. We aim to make a distinctive contribution to equality and social development through the establishment of effective partnerships and programmes.”

All the Yorkshire and Humberside winners now proceed to a final national judging stage, and have the opportunity to be crowned as the national winner in their category.

The Apprenticeship employer entries judged to be the very best of the best will have the additional honour of featuring in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list produced by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds, and revealed during the national ceremony on the 13th November at the LG Arena in Birmingham.

For more information on Dale Power Solutions apprenticeship scheme please visit the careers section of their website.

The 5% Club Celebrates First Anniversary


The 5% Club is proud to be commemorating its first anniversary this week.

To coincide with the anniversary, we conducted a survey with YouGov that explores small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) attitudes towards apprentices and graduates.

Given the vital role that these kinds of businesses play in sustaining the UK’s economy accounting for 99.9% of private business and employing 14.4 million people, their contribution is essential in tackling the issue of the three quarters of a million young people that are still unemployed, as well as helping to address the nation’s ability to compete globally.

Crucially, the survey reveals that 74% of SMEs do believe apprentices and graduates are important to their future, and 40% acknowledge the vital role that they play in upskilling young people. However, many believe there are barriers that prevent them from recruiting young people such as cash flow (30%) and a lack of talent and the appropriate criteria for the job specification (22%).

5% Club Anniversary However, many more emphasize a need for a change in communication, in the relationships that SMEs have with young people. 62% suggest that greater awareness needs to be raised in schools and as part of careers guidance, and a further 59% say that they believe better connections between local businesses and schools or colleges would help to increase the amount of young people applying for apprenticeships and graduate training.

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This is further supported by the fact that 44% of our surveyed SMEs think that young people considering these kinds of training schemes are more interested in those offered by bigger businesses. Alongside the respondent’s understanding that better communication could help encourage young recruits means that there is obviously a certain level of disconnect between young people and SMEs that needs to be addressed.

Yet there remains a reluctance to actually become part of the upskilling of young people, with the majority of SMEs admitting that they are not very likely to increase the amount of apprentices or graduates within the next year (74%).

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The 5% Club believes this is what needs to be addressed in the coming year.

As we celebrate twelve months of successful campaigning, our survey with YouGov reveals that there is still much more to be done.

Whilst it illumines how valued apprentices and graduates are, as well as how valuable the SME truly is to young people and the British economy, it also demonstrates that our driving force, the need for British businesses to make a difference, is stronger than ever. British businesses, including SMEs need to take action quickly if we’re going to tackle the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment prevalent in Britain today.

If you believe in young people and the SMEs that support our nation then why not join us as we enter our second year in campaigning for the recruitment of the next generation?

Join The 5% Club today and commit to the aim of ensuring that 5% of your workforce is made up of apprentices, graduates and sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well!

QinetiQ Attend The Hampshire Business Awards 2014.


On Tuesday 30th September, Dr Sam Healy, Head of Corporate Responsibility at The 5% Club founding member company, QinetiQ, attended the Hampshire Business Awards 2014.

The ceremony, which took place in the grand surroundings of Winchester Guildhall saw some of the best companies in the Hampshire country receive awards for different categories including ‘Management team of the year’, ‘Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability’, ‘Technical Innovation’, ‘Company of the year’ and ‘Outstanding Business Led Campaign’.

The awards were supported by RBS, Blake Morgan, University of Southampton, KPMG and CBI and hosted by BBC journalist Justin Webb.

QinetiQ won the ‘CBI Special Award for Outstanding Business Led Campaign’ which was presented by Lucy Haynes, CBI Director, Member Relations.

Upon accepting the award on behalf of QinetiQ, Dr Sam Healy, Head of Corporate Responsibility, said:

“We are delighted to receive the award for Outstanding Business Led campaign for The 5% Club and we’re so pleased to receive recognition for the success of the campaign. Along with the other 45 members, we are really proud to be making a positive impact towards investing in the next generation through the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into British businesses.”