Prime Minister backs new Oxfordshire Construction education initiative!

Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who turned out for an Apprenticeships Open Morning at West Witney Primary School on Saturday 11th April, which featured live demonstrations of Trade School, a new construction-based education programme for Oxfordshire Secondary Schools, created and delivered by one of our partner employers, Witney-based Wain & Francis Ltd.

This was part of a general Apprenticeships Open Morning, were visitors were able to access free and impartial information on over 100 Apprenticeship opportunities, on local training providers and get practical advice on how to get started, from the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships team.

Richard Francis, Director of Witney firm Wain & Francis Ltd, is the creator of Trade School, and working with us, has secured funding from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to take the programme to local schools over the next 2 years. Mr Francis said; “I’ve employed apprentices for the past decade and it concerns me how the trades are overlooked by so many young people and their parents as a career option. As a result, we now have a major construction skills shortage and Trade School will enable us within the industry to work with schools to inform and inspire students by letting them get hands on with bricks and mortar, and speak to real tradesmen.”

Our Managing Director Adam Marsh was there, and was pleased that Mr Cameron was supportive of both Apprenticeships, but also the drive to close the construction skills gap. Adam is delighted to be backing Trade School saying; “Working with schools is key to addressing the skills shortage. We regularly take on young people after they’ve tried college or other things first, when really they were always best suited to a trade Apprenticeship but no-one highlighted the option to them. Our view is that we should be working with schools, and helping them to open other doors to students, so we’re delighted to be behind Richard and the Trade School programme.”

Speaking at the Open Morning to the Oxford Mail, Mr Cameron talked of his continued support of Apprenticeships and the importance of informing those in education about choices; “Apprenticeships have been one of the great success stories for the Government. We have created two million and aim to create three million in the next. We need to explain to children that going to university is an option but having an apprenticeship is too.“

We are really grateful to Mr Cameron and his team for supporting the event and especially to West Witney Primary School and their Headteacher Nancy Darby, for hosting it. This event also preceded the annual Apprenticeship Event held at Marlborough School in Woodstock on 16th April, which is also open to the general public, and we will be there! For general information on Apprenticeships across Oxfordshire, go to

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