A range of apprentices, employers, school staff and training providers last week took part in a tour of the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Robin Walker MP. The touring party included Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year, Victoria Rawlings and staff from Worcestershire Apprenticeship's School of the Year, Hanley Castle.
The visit was part of National Apprenticeship Week, and took place on March 16.
One of the touring party was Victorian Rawlings, Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year, who reflected: "This experience was something else and felt completely surreal. Robin gave us all a warm welcome for what was to be a busy day in parliament as we’d arrived on the day the budget announcement was to be made. Meeting with our tour guide, we were shown around.
"For someone who was a complete nightmare in school, I would have typically been the clown, not listening and believe this to be a history lesson. I can honestly say I found it so interesting.
"For me the highlight of the day had to be near the end. Myself and a couple of others decided to wait to see if we could get into the public gallery in the Houses of Commons. Whilst many had waited ages and given up due to our coach coming at 2pm, we got there at the right time and got some spaces. Seeing the Leader of the Opposition speak, hearing the buzz from the room and seeing the Prime Minister sitting not that far away felt completely bizarre and an experience I will always remember."
Cllr Dr Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure said: "We are delighted to support the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards and National Apprenticeship Week. Apprentices can add so much to the workplace, and by offering placements, employers give young people the opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge and experience for their future lives.
"I would encourage employers to make their nominations for the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards, and help celebrate and further improve the already fantastic apprenticeship infrastructure that we enjoy here in Worcestershire."
Robin Walker MP said: “I am delighted that a group of apprentices from Worcestershire were able to visit Parliament. As a member of the All Party Parliamentary group for apprenticeships, a Parliamentary apprenticeship ambassador and having served on the BIS Select Committee, which oversees policy towards apprenticeships, I have always been passionate about promoting apprenticeships and all the opportunity they can offer.
"I am passionate about the Government’s plan to deliver over 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and I want to see Worcestershire play a major part in that. We have already seen the numbers double and the quality increase over the last five years but I will keep on pressing the case for more apprenticeship opportunities so that more bright young people can earn and learn at the same time.
"It is always a pleasure to welcome constituents to Westminster but it is doubly exciting when those constituents are also apprentices!”