Apprentices across the country have kicked off the quest to become the apprentice team of the year as the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2017 Regional Heats begin.

Now in its sixth year, the Brathay Apprentice Challenge (#BAC17) has seen over 650 apprentices from across 75 organisations enter. Over the next four months, the teams will take on a series of exciting and interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills and showcase their employer by engaging with young people and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.

Organisations of all sizes have entered teams of apprentices. Large employers include AstraZeneca, Balfour Beatty, GlaxoSmithkline, IBM and Severn Trent Water. Household names will be up against local authorities including Brighton & Hove Council, Plymouth City Council and Surrey County Council.

Smaller sized employers are represented with groups of companies working together to enter, such as the Enterprise M3 Apprentice Ambassador Network team created by the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Colleges and training providers have also entered the Challenge with teams of apprentices training with organisations including Derwent Training Association, HIT Training and QinetiQ Apprentice Training School.

The Challenge is designed to develop and test team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities. The Regional Heats see apprentices complete a Community Project that benefits young people and conduct activities that raise the profile of the team, their employer and apprenticeships.

Eight National Finalists teams will be announced on 17 May 2017 at the House of Commons.  The National Finals consist of further awareness raising activity with the Challenge culminating in a four day Logistical and Team Building Finale at Brathay Trust’s Windermere headquarters from 12 – 15 June 2017.  The apprentice team of the year 2017 will be announced on 14 June 2017.

Godfrey Owen, Chief Executive, Brathay Trust, said:

“We are pleased to see such a variety of teams enter the Challenge this year.  The apprentices are beginning their journey which will see them benefit from an enhanced apprenticeship gaining team building, leadership, logistical and communication skills.  We wish each and every organisation the best of luck.”

For the first time apprentices taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2017 are invited to attend a full training day commended by City & Guilds Group to help prepare them with additional skills to complete the Challenge.

Marcia Asare, Sustainability Manager at the City & Guilds Group said:

“We are very excited to be working with the Brathay Apprentice Challenge this year. It’s a great opportunity for all involved to develop new skills and really see the benefits of apprenticeships. Our full day’s training session, which is run through our Apprentice Connect programme, allows the teams to network with other apprentices. They will learn different tools and techniques to help them: achieve their potential in the Challenge, to be able to confidently promote apprenticeships, and boost their career as they will receive a City & Guilds commended certificate”

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said:

“It is great to see so many employers embracing the Brathay Apprentice Challenge. This challenge is a unique opportunity for schools, employers and local communities to hear about the benefits of apprenticeships directly from apprentices.

“Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to gain qualifications up to Degree level, whilst earning and developing skills they need to succeed. The Brathay Apprentice Challenge allows apprentices to showcase the true potential of apprenticeships.”

Please see the Apprentice Challenge page for further information and a list of this year's team entries.