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There are many new and updated articles at the main location and we would welcome any queries, comments, or suggestions you may have.

Thank you,

The 5% Club team


Sharp Devices Europe’s success in The 5% Club


Sharp Devices Europe (SDE) is a European subsidiary of the international Sharp Corporation of Japan. SDE maintains its renowned design centre in Oxford, UK. This is where three students completing their Year in Industry were given the opportunity by SDE to gain hands-on experience participating in exciting design and engineering projects over the last year. By taking on the Year in Industry students, Sharp was able to meet the criterion for membership in The 5% Club.

The students currently at SDE will be leaving in the summer. However, replacements for all three have already been recruited. SDE is looking forward to welcoming the new students soon. They will be supported by the outgoing students, who will share their knowledge and hand over their duties to the new recruits.

So far, the efforts that qualified Sharp for The 5% Club have been a complete success. “It is amazing to see how quickly these young professionals take on responsibility and show commitment. You can watch them growing fast, which really makes everyone proud here at  SDE”, said SDE HR specialist Kasumi Büttner.

Despite the fact that most of the students did not have much experience in the working world, they were entrusted with tasks on important development projects during their time at SDE. That was well-received, since all of them were attracted to the program by the types of projects and technologies SDE works with. Over the last year, they have built demo devices, collected data from an analogue camera, and developed more efficient finite element method techniques, to name a few of their assignments.

The takeaways for participating students Isabel Parsons, Sean Tann, and Colin-Benedikt Hay included a number of valuable insights. They are now in a better position to decide what path to take in the future. For Isabel, the desire to continue pursuing a career in engineering has been confirmed. She can now make a more informed decision on which engineering specialization to concentrate on in her studies. Sean has gained a much deeper understanding of how businesses operate and developed a 48V driver for use in LEDs. All of the students remarked that the real-world work experience benefitted them greatly.

“The sense that you have contributed to the development of a large project is very gratifying. Otherwise putting forward ideas and discussing development of the product with the design engineers was what I enjoyed the most because it is in vein with what I want to do in future”, explained Sharp Year in Industry student Colin-Benedikt Hay.

To be a member of The 5% Club, companies must work toward having 5% of their UK work force in apprenticeships and/or graduate development schemes. Sharp Devices Europe is proud to support the next generation of innovators and engineers in the UK and looks forward to its ongoing participation in The 5% Club.

For more information about Sharp Devices Europe, visit

The 5% Club’s Autumn Meeting

The 5% Club’s autumn meeting, was hosted by member company NG Bailey at their headquarters in Denton, Yorkshire and saw representatives from the campaign gather together to discuss what their companies are doing to provide great earn and learn opportunities for young people.

The 5% Club, is an employer led campaign focussed on driving momentum into the recruitment of apprentices and graduates. By joining the campaign, members commit to ensuring 5% of their workforce consists of apprentice, graduates on formal programmes and sponsored students. The pledge also asks members to publicly report their progress in their Annual Report.

The event was opened by Cal Bailey, sustainability director at NG Bailey, who provided an overview of the business and why apprentices are so important to their company ethos. Cal said “We recognise that the construction industry faces a major skills shortage and understand that apprenticeships have a vital role to play in overcoming this. We are proud to work closely with The 5% Club so that we can share our experience of running an apprenticeship programme since 1969 with other companies and learn from them too.”

Frank Clayton, head of group learning and development at NG Bailey provided an overview of their apprentice programme demonstrating the investment and commitment NG Bailey has to apprentices. Frank said “NG Bailey is always looking at ways that we can improve our programme to make it as relevant as possible for the current and future labour market as we want to continue our excellent track record in producing apprentices with the right skills for work.  Since 1969 over 5,700 apprentices have graduated from our scheme and from this year’s 2016 graduates everyone was offered roles within the company. “

Members were also given a briefing by Mike Long from the National Apprentice Service to explain the latest news on the apprenticeship levy and the funding reforms. Attendees then had lively discussion about how to ensure that employers get the best out of the levy.

Dr Sam Healy, Programme Director of The 5% Club said, “The event was a great success and showcased the value of the network. We get together quarterly to share ideas, challenges and best practice and we are very grateful to our hosts for their support of the event, in such a beautiful location.”

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




Recruiting for – Head of Development and Campaigns The 5% Club

Job Description: Head of Development and Campaigns

Salary: Commensurate with experience and responsibility

Location: Central London / Home-based initially

The 5% Club

The 5% Club was founded by a senior group of business leaders to tackle the twin social issues of youth unemployment and skills shortages. It is now looking for a dedicated and energetic individual to help drive this agenda forward, interacting with people at the highest level of business and government. The successful candidate will be instrumental in ensuring the Club both educates young people on the advantages of entering the world of work through “earn to learn” positions and businesses on taking the lead in providing these opportunities.

The organisation is focused on creating measurable momentum behind the recruitment and up-skilling of young people into the workforce. Its members consist of public and private sector employers in the UK who want to make a difference and support the UK’s ability to compete in increasingly tough global markets – and who do so by committing to having 5% of their workforce in formal training programmes as apprentices, graduate trainees or sponsored students.

Founded in October 2013, it is at an exciting point in its evolution.  Started on a semi-informal basis by a handful of companies to promote skills training and combat youth unemployment, it now has over 170 members across the spectrum of size and sectors.

Major steps are now underway to ensure the Club’s sustainability – including hiring a Director General, seeking charitable status, creation of a steering Board of senior industry figures, formal funding arrangements and an agenda to drive membership.  Together it is intended that this will enable The 5% Club to:

  •  Encourage businesses to take the lead on training the next generation
  • Promote apprenticeships and other “earn to learn” opportunities as a positive career decision
  • Be the voice for business on education and training matters
  • Act as a vehicle for interaction between government and business to ensure that employers obtain the skills we require to compete effectively on a global basis

The Role

To help it meet these goals, The 5% Club is now seeking a Head of Development and Campaigns reporting to the Director General to oversee the administration, communication and fundraising aspects of its future strategy.

We are looking for a motivated all-rounder with solid experience and judgment, who will act as the first point of contact for The Club, managing relationships with our business members and working closely with the Board and Trustees. The right candidate will have first-class interpersonal and communication skills and experience of developing and delivering high quality and relevant stakeholder engagement campaigns.

Experience could be in any sector, but the right candidate will need to be able to demonstrate transferability of this knowledge to The 5% Club. In addition, they should exhibit a commitment to, and understanding of, the importance of skills for British business globally and for youth unemployment.

There is significant scope for this new role to be defined by the successful candidate, but it will include:

  • Managing the day-to-day relationships with our business members and on-boarding new members
  • Leading and delivering the implementation of our communications strategy to support building both the profile of The 5% Club and increasing membership; Acting as a first point of contact for the charity
  • Developing and delivering an effective and sustainable strategy for maximising income from grant funding, trusts, foundations and individuals
  • Managing designated budgets
  • Staying up-to-date on policy developments, while identifying and shaping the influencing opportunities that can make change happen
  • Delivering a programme of events
  • Supporting the part-time Director-General (DG)in meeting the long-term goals for the organisation
  • Preparing for Board and Trustee meetings
  • Line management of graduate/apprentice team members

Person Specification, ideally the successful candidate will possess

  • Experience of interacting and influencing senior leaders in business and government
  • Ability to multi-task, act on initiative and strong organizational skills
  • Excellent written skills (plain English) and effective interpersonal skills
  • Fundraising and budget management experience
  • Experience of dealing with the media and political stakeholders
  • Confidence in day-to-day administrative tasks and event management
  • Sympathy with The 5% Club’s approach and objectives
  • Positive attitude, a creative and lateral thinker, particularly to new tasks and problem solving, used to working in a small team to deliver big outcomes

Application Process: Please email your CV, a supporting letter (including salary expectations) outlining how you meet the Person Specification to

Closing Date: 15 July 2016

PPSPower commits to the next generation by joining The 5% Club

PPSPower, a back-up power maintenance provider, has showcased its commitment to the next generation by joining The 5% Club.

PPSPower Building

PPSPower has made a commitment to raise the number of engineer apprentices to over 5% of its total workforce. The company comes into the club already with 5% of the engineer workforce being on an apprenticeship course.

Apprentice Engineers at PPSPower can work in either a Mechanical Engineering capacity or be trained as an Electrical Engineer.

Lewis Thompson joined PPSPower’s UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) division as an Apprentice Electrical Engineer in April 2015. Lewis feels his training has given him a good platform to follow a career path in the electrical engineering industry and hopes to develop into a key member of the PPSPower UPS team.


He comments, “PPSPower has been a great place to start my career, being part of a developing forward thinking business provides lots of opportunities to get involved in challenging projects. Since joining PPSPower I have worked with some highly experienced engineers who have helped me to improve on my electrical knowledge, especially within the UPS arena. My confidence is growing by the day and I have been well supported by the team here.”

YorPower Leeds 27 April 2011

YorPower Leeds 27 April 2011

PPSPower recognises the importance of investing in its employees, Stephen Peal, Director, PPSPower explains “We believe our people are not just an invaluable asset but a real differentiator for us. Bringing people in at a young age means that our strong customer service values can be taught from the start and we can trust our engineers to deliver an exceptional service to our customers. That’s why we continue to invest in our people and supporting The 5% Club is another way for us to develop a culture of constant improvement by supporting the next generation.”

To find out more about PPS and the opportunities it offers please visit the website

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Chris Eckert, Packing Automation Ltd, Shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award

Chris Eckert, electrical engineer apprentice at Packaging Automation Ltd (PA) was recently shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award. We heard from Chris about his experiences to date and what the future holds for him.

“I began my engineering career with Packaging Automation Ltd (PA), leading manufacturers of reliable, versatile and cost effective filling and tray sealing solutions, in August 2011.


During my three year apprenticeship I have spent the majority of my time working in the factory and gaining invaluable experience in all sectors of the company, from the design sector to systems, fabrication, service, machine assembly, wiring and the machine shop.

As part of this scheme I have also been working towards engineering qualifications at a tailored college course in order that I gain the necessary credential to progress as an engineer within the company.

I am now in the third year of my apprenticeship and have so far achieved an NVQ Level 2.

Packaging Automation is passionate about apprenticeships and they have invested in my training and personal development over the past three years. I have particularly enjoyed working on the range of different products that PA manufacture as well as accompanying engineers to customers’ sites to deal with faults and breakdowns.

I am constantly challenged by the work and encouraged to develop my skills as an engineer in an environment where I am supported and coached to be the best I can be. Most importantly, I have always felt like an equal and valuable member of the team.

I have recently been shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award which is a huge honour. It feels great that my hard work and academic achievements have been recognised at this level. I very much hope that this nomination will highlight the brilliant work and great effort PA Ltd do to invest in young people, like myself, and our future.

I am very much looking forward to attending the award ceremony in February and hearing about the achievements of all the other nominees and the great things apprentices can do.”


For more than 25 years, Packaging Automation has been offering high quality engineering apprenticeships to young school leavers. These apprenticeships offer a genuine opportunity to recruits to gain a recognized engineering qualification with full time employment at the end.

PA is proud of its apprentice scheme which enables it to ‘grow’ its own talent and identify the individuals who will become the managers, machinery designers, systems engineers, sales engineers, and project engineers of the future. To find out more information about PA’s apprenticeship scheme, please visit

To find out more information about The 5% Club, and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Minister Priti Patel joins members of The 5% Club in celebrating Apprentices

On Thursday 3rd December, Employment Minister Priti Patel joined members of The 5% Club in celebrating the value apprentices hold and the importance in investing in them.


The member’s quarterly meeting, which was hosted by member Pimlico Plumbers at their Head Quarters in London, saw representatives from the campaign’s 135 member employers gather together to discuss what their companies are doing to provide great earn and learn opportunities for young people.


Within her speech at the event, Patel said “Everyone should be talking about the 5% Club. This is a fantastic initiative to ensure companies have the next generation of skilled workers, through high-quality apprenticeships and graduate schemes.” You can read Patel’s full speech here.


Pippa Morgan, head of Education and Skills at the CBI also spoke at the event on the apprenticeship levy and what it means for businesses.

Before the meeting, six selected members, QinetiQ, Pimlico Plumbers, Maylarch, Croudace, Renishaw and AWE joined trade body WAMT (Women and Manual Trades) and HR magazine People Management in discussing encouraging girls to take up training opportunities in the trade and STEM sector. You can read more on these discussions here.


Dr Sam Healy, Programme Director of The 5% Club said, “The event was a fantastic success and showcased what a great people network the campaign has become. Every quarter, we get together to share best practice in providing quality earn and learn opportunities for young people and it was a great opportunity for our members to get to share their thoughts with the Minister and the CBI.”


To find out more information about The 5% Club, and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, and LinkedIn.