Semta Chairman receives apprenticeship honours award

Semta’s Chairman Allan Cook CBE, a non-executive director of Marshall (Holdings) Ltd, has received an Honorary Apprenticeship from the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network (AAN) in recognition of his outstanding commitment to Apprenticeships in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The Honorary Apprenticeship Awards recognise the achievements of those with successful careers which began through vocational training and business people who have made a contribution to the development of Apprenticeships.

Presenting the award at Lancaster House, Sir Roy Gardner, Chairman of the AAN and Chairman of Compass Group plc, said: “Apprenticeships have come a long way in the past few years.  We have record numbers starting and completing Apprenticeships and we are making real inroads into new sectors.

“We should be proud of our individual and collective efforts to realise our ambition that Apprenticeships in England are amongst the best in the world.  According to a recent study commissioned by the London School of Economics, the number of apprentices in training, per thousand employees in England had almost doubled which improves our position on the league table to be higher than France.”

Accepting his award, Allan Cook CBE, chairman of WS Atkins plc chairman of SELEX Galileo Ltd and deputy chairman of Marshalls Group, said, “This is a tremendous honour. Apprenticeships are crucial to the success of our sector and to the economic recovery of UK plc. We must ensure that the right skills are in place to help businesses take advantage of growth opportunities and improve their profitability. Those of us who employ apprentices realise the value that they bring to our business.  We need to encourage more employers to offer Apprenticeships simply because they are a cost effective and practical way to build the skilled workforces that are essential for future growth and development.”

Also honoured were London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson who received an award for his commitment to increasing the number of Apprenticeships in the Capital; Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC for her commitment to vocational training and John Armitt, Olympic Development Authority Chairman who was recognised for his contribution to Apprenticeships in the construction sector.

Semta plays a pivotal role in stimulating apprenticeship growth in engineering and manufacturing. It was awarded £5 million by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to increase the skills of the existing workforce and bring in new talent through the recruitment of both graduates and apprentices.

The funding will support Semta in implementing sustainable skills solutions for three work streams, including increasing the number of SMEs that recruit an apprentice from 11 per cent to 20 per cent by 2016.

Additionally Semta has an Apprenticeship Ambition, which aims to take the number of advanced and higher level apprenticeship registrations from 8,000 to 16,000 by 2016 through delivery of a ten point plan. To support the Ambition, Semta’s new Apprenticeship Service allows sector employers to realise the benefits of apprenticeships by managing the whole process from recruitment, through design, to sourcing providers and funding, and ensuring programme quality.

Marshall of Cambridge has trained apprentices on a continuous and unbroken basis since 1921.  The Company spearheaded the modern apprenticeship scheme for the Aerospace Industry in conjunction with Semta and today the accreditation for the Company’s Marshall Aerospace Apprentices is all conducted by Semta.    Sir Michael Marshall said: ‘Marshall of Cambridge is very proud of its training heritage for apprentices over the last 90 years and we are delighted that Allan Cook has been recognised by Semta in this way.'


Semta is the employer-led Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies in the UK.  The sectors it represents are:  Aerospace, Automotive, Bioscience, Composites, Electrical, Electronics, Maintenance, Marine, Mathematics, Mechanical, Metals and Engineered Metal Products, Renewables and Science.  Its role is to raise skills levels and competitiveness in the 132,000 companies and 1.7 million-strong workforce that make up these sectors. Its National Skills Academy for Manufacturing delivers an independent national standard for manufacturing training content, delivery and process by focusing on business return which is typically 6:1.


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Lottie Dutton, Consolidated PR on 020 7781 2362 or email







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