Move over Lord Sugar, Harpenden school manager is a real Apprentice Champion

Julie Honour-Jones from Sir John Lawes School has been recognised for her outstanding commitment to

Julie Honour-Jones from Sir John Lawes School has been recognised for her outstanding commitment to promoting apprenticeships. She is pictured centre with (left) Zeena Cala from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and (right) Matt OConner, chair of the Hertfordshire Apprenticeship Ambassador Network. - Credit: Archant

The sixth form manager at a Harpenden school has won national recognition for her commitment to providing students with greater career options by organising various apprenticeship-related events.

Julie Honour-Jones, who is also student services manager at Sir John Lawes School, was awarded the title of Apprenticeship Champion at the 14th annual National Apprentice Awards.

Julie, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, developed a coordinated careers plan for Sir John Lawes, which includes a higher apprenticeship evening and a careers day, which this year was attended by representatives from over 70 blue chip companies and an audience of over 850 students from seven local secondary schools.

These events allow students to hear directly from employers about the exceptional educational and employment opportunities offered by their apprenticeship schemes, helping dissipate the stigma surrounding apprenticeships and increasing the likelihood of take-up. The events are set to grow in the coming year to accommodate over 1,000 students from nine local schools.

The aim of events like these is to change perceptions of apprenticeships and increase the amount of young people undertaking apprenticeships at a time when UK university applications have fallen by 25,000 since last year, according to UCAS.

Julie said: “I am delighted to receive this award and to see the success of this strategy, which has been evidenced by a growing alumni of apprentices who have secured extremely competitive higher and degree apprenticeships, returning each year to represent their organisations and reinforce the positive message about apprenticeships.”

Norman Jennings, skills and employment manager for Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We applaud Julie’s proactive approach to promoting apprenticeships and offer our congratulations on her well-deserved win. The success of her strategy is clearly evident and we hope she continues to inspire students and parents to actively consider apprenticeships as a viable career path.”

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The National Apprenticeship Awards highlight the many success stories and benefits of apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships in England, offering free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their apprenticeship workforce.