As the tenth annual National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, C.K tools estimates more than 20,000 apprentices have passed through its Bright Sparks scheme since its launch in 2003. Designed to develop exceptional ‘sparkies’ of the future, Bright Sparks supports and promotes vocational education programmes as an attractive option and a viable career path to ensure the industry continues to attract and retain the very best talent.

Every year, the initiative sees C.K tools provide colleges across the UK with bursaries and a selection of top trade tools to use while training, to ensure apprentices are using the safest and best quality hand tools. 

Colin Martin, Electrical Lecturer at Fife College, which has been a member of the Bright Sparks initiative for three years, comments: We highly value our place on the Bright Sparks scheme; the benefits for our course and apprentices are significant, enabling us to promote professionalism and quality when we teach thanks to the tools we are supplied. With ever decreasing budgets, this is something we simply couldn’t do without, and ensures we are able to provide the best for our students. 

As a department, we are delighted to be able to offer such excellent tools for classroom activities, as well as providing prizes for apprentice of the year awards. The Fife College team take great pride in seeing our apprentices grow into professional electricians and the support from C.K tools is a significant contributor to this.

Running from 6th to 10th March, National Apprenticeship Week 2017 will mark the tenth year of celebrating apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The construction industry alone has seen a 10 per cent rise in apprenticeships in the past year and now has more apprentices than ever before.

Figures from The Sutton Trust reveal that youngsters who opt to study for a Level 5 higher apprenticeship equivalent to a foundation degree will earn around 1.44million over their lifetime. That’s almost 52,000 more than a student who studies at a non-elite university, who can expect to take home around 1.39million. 

C.K tools’ wide range of high quality products allows apprentices to work to the industry standard. Their support has had a hand in creating a generation of apprentices that are ready for the workplace. A survey of 1,500 construction employers across the UK showed that four in five (78%) of employers rated their apprentices work as good or very good, compared with 73% for graduates and 59% for further education leavers[2].

Paul Fallon, marketing manager at C.K tools, says: National Apprenticeship Week exists to celebrate the unique, and very important role that apprenticeships and traineeships play within the UK, and as a leading supplier to the electrical industry, it is something we are equally committed to supporting. 

Our mission is to support young tradespeople as they embark on their careers, and help the industry continue to flourish. By the end of this year, we estimate to have provided quality equipment to more than 20,000 apprentices up and down the country, which is testament to the value we place upon the future of our industry. 

We have also invested in significant improvements, in particular, making the sign up process simpler to ensure colleges and their students can benefit from the Bright Sparks scheme without added administrative burden.

We hope National Apprenticeship Week encourages apprentices and employers alike to consider the unique opportunity this form of education presents.