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WSP is committed to supporting early career professionals

WSP is committed to supporting early career professionals

 March 28, 2023

WSP employees are challenged in more fascinating and far-reaching ways than ever before. They explore new and inspiring opportunities to make the most of their expertise, broaden their professional horizons and create exciting new possibilities for people, organisations, and society in general.

As part of its commitment to creating opportunities for early career professionals, WSP is Patron of the 5% Club and attended its 10th anniversary reception at Westminster Abbey in London, UK.

"Brilliant to attend 5% Club's 10th anniversary reception in Westminster Abbey! We're proud to be a Patron of the Club and nurturing the careers of almost 900 early career professionals," said WSP.

Leading the way in creating a network of best practice

The 5% Club is a dynamic movement of employer-members working to create a shared prosperity across the UK by driving ‘earn and learn’ skills training opportunities. It is focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates in the workforce.

The 5% Club brings a unique and vital 'employer voice' to improving training of the unemployed and unskilled, as well as helping employers share key insights, resources and best practice on skills training.

Its 10th anniversary highlights the relevance of the Charity, its continued and remarkable growth across its first decade, and the social impact being delivered across the 'earn and learn' schemes delivered by a membership that now numbers over 820 Employer organisations, and is growing by over 25 per cent each year. 

"I warmly congratulate The 5% Club on its ten-year anniversary and look forward to continuing our close work together into the future. Both WSP and The 5% Club believe in the importance of investment in early careers and recognise the vital contribution these professionals make to an organisation. At WSP, we’re proud to be nurturing the careers of almost 900 early career professionals across the UK, including many in earn-and-learn positions, and our patronage of The 5% Club has been instrumental in driving this programme forward," said WSP Chief Executive UK & EMEA, Mark Naysmith.

Creating more earn and learn job opportunities

WSP attends 5 % Club anniversary reception

Marking the 5% Club's 10th Anniversary via the celebration reception in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey, the event celebrated the Charity’s first decade of operation and saw one hundred guests in attendance, all of whom are instrumental in the charity's growth, relevance and success of The 5% Club as it seeks to enlist UK employers to create more 'earn and learn' job opportunities.

To mark the occasion, The 5% Club made several announcements, including:

  • introduction of a new 'top' tier of Platinum Membership that can be achieved through their Employer Audit Scheme. Platinum members will be participants who have achieved Gold Membership in three consecutive years, and who in their third year have 10 per cent or more staff members 'earning and learning', undertaking Apprenticeships, Graduate Schemes or as a Sponsored Student
  • creation of a new 5% Club Fellowship for those individuals who: have shaped the strategy or operations of The 5% Club; or have notably driven increases in the number of workplace learners and/or have improved the inclusion and accessibility of their schemes; or have in the organisation; or have made an outstanding thought leadership contribution on 'earn and learn' schemes and the broader skills system

Encouraging employers to join the 5 % club

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, and longstanding member of The 5% Club Steering Group, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, was recalled to parliament for a vote, so was unable to give his keynote speech as planned. But he reiterated his challenge to grow movement and to encourage more employers to join for the good of individual employees and the wider economy. “As Skills Minister, I am delighted that The 5% Club is celebrating its ten-year anniversary today," Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP commented afterwards. “Since its establishment, The Club has grown from strength to strength by inspiring employers across the country to create more earn and learn job opportunities, which enable people of all backgrounds to train, retrain and upskill. Such innovation is key to building a skilled workforce which meets the evolving demands of businesses, boosts our economy and drives growth."

“I am very proud the Department for Education is a member alongside other wonderful employers, and I am looking forward to another successful decade,” he added.

Bridging the skills shortage

Furthering his commitment to the cause, The 5% Club Founder, Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty announced his own Founder’s Pledge Scheme that he is launching and funding personally within Balfour Beatty and its supply chain partners.

“I have always believed apprenticeships are critical in providing young people with the skills and capabilities to enjoy lifelong and fulfilling careers. Yet, with one in three not completing their training because of a lack of mental and financial support, something needs to be done," said the CEO.

“I hope that the Pledge that I have launched today – which will see me fund ten apprentices across Balfour Beatty and our supply chain partners – will inspire others to follow suit and bridge the skills shortage we face across every industry and sector.”

Boosting apprenticeships and supporting growth of the economy

From UCAS, who were partners for The 5% Club Tenth Anniversary year, saw Executive Director of Strategy, Policy & Public Affairs, John Cope, also speak at the event,

“At UCAS, we know over 50 per cent of those who set up their account with us are interested in doing an apprenticeship. We’re thrilled to support The 5% Club on their 10th anniversary as we work together to convert that interest in an apprenticeship into reality," explained John.

“The new, ground-breaking partnership between UCAS and the Government will see undergraduate degrees and apprenticeships sit side-by-side for the first time this year. And it will also boost apprenticeships and support our economy to grow.“

Further attendees at the event included Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson MP, and senior policy officials from The Department for Education. Patron Members past and present, who through generosity fund the movement, were also present with C suite representation from WSP, Accuracy UK, Balfour Beatty PLC, Leonardo,MBDA, QinetiQ and more.

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