Apprenticeships for all: FIVE Cities, ONE Goal

7 January 2019 

Five cities across the UK have come together, at the request of Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Anne Milton MP, to tackle the underrepresentation of minority groups currently undertaking an apprenticeship. Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester, London and Greater Manchester, supported by their respective mayors, have all agreed to participate in The Five Cities Project, which launched in February of this year and aims to encourage those within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to embark upon an apprenticeship.


It is one of the governments many aspirations to widen participation and social mobility within the apprenticeship sector. The benefits of apprenticeships for individuals are significant; from economic and financial security to increased knowledge and skills, improved confidence and motivation and significantly increased career prospects. Similarly, employers reap the rewards from staff who successfully achieve on apprenticeship programmes, increasing their skills, motivation and loyalty to their employer. 

Greater Manchester are leading the way in tackling this issue. The target for the city is to have 16% of all apprentices to come from a BAME background by 2020, which would be an increase in over 3000 BAME apprenticeship starts in the next two years. The project across Greater Manchester will have four key elements:

ONE: To explore the cultural thinking of different communities aligned to the benefits of apprenticeships

TWO: To work with the BAME Business Community to increase the understanding of apprenticeships

THREE: To support the wider employer and business community to see the benefits of widening participation across their apprenticeship recruitment

FOUR: To work with apprenticeship providers to ensure recruitment activity and apprenticeship delivery is fully aligned with the needs of all communities across Greater Manchester

Currently, across the UK figures indicate that people from BAME backgrounds only make up around 10% of the apprenticeship population, compared to around 16% of the working population. Just under 20% of applicants for apprenticeships are from a BAME background, with white candidates twice as likely to get appointed to the role.

Allan Milne, Head of Apprenticeship and Business Development for Apprenticeships at Salford City College, said: “As a college that is dedicated to our apprenticeship provision, we are determined to support the project across Greater Manchester. We have significant representation across the college community from people from a BAME background.

However, we are always dedicated to doing more to create a diverse and inclusive apprentice community. We will be working with partners across the city to do this.”

For more information on the Five Cities Project click here. 

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