M&C Saatchi brought in to relaunch apprenticeships

The Department for Education has brought in M&C Saatchi to help rescue the reputation of its apprenticeship policy - a government initiative that has been dogged by delays and controversy.

The agency was chosen as the lead strategy and creative agency for apprenticeships, the DfE announced last month, after a competitive pitch against other suppliers on the government’s campaigns solutions roster, which includes Freuds, Grayling, and Kindred. 

A government target of achieving three million apprenticeship starts by 2020 is in doubt, with a fall in the numbers of people starting apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton admitting earlier this year that "we won’t sacrifice [ … ] quality just to meet the target that was set".

A report by the Lords economic affairs committee in June this year stated: "The Government’s target of three million apprenticeships has prioritised quantity over quality, and should be scrapped."

It added that "the lack of clear accountability for the delivery and quality of apprenticeships is unacceptable", and recommended that the Institute for Apprenticeships, a non-departmental public body created in 2017, "should be abolished".

Against this backdrop, M&C Saatchi is "responsible for the relaunch of the campaign as part of a continued government drive to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships", according to the DfE.  

Key audiences will include businesses, young people, teachers and parents. The campaign will "reveal the reality of apprenticeships today, celebrating their value and replacing the out-dated attitudes, which too often lead to them being overlooked", the government department said.

Gemmaine Walsh, director of DfE Communications Group, commented: "This is a flagship Government campaign and has the potential to have a real impact on how people think and feel about apprenticeships - and the lives of thousands of people. We are excited to be working with M&C Saatchi to relaunch the campaign."

Chris Owen, director of business & technology at M&C Saatchi Public Relations, said: "The opportunity to work together on reframing a movement as large as apprenticeships is one we’re hugely excited about."

He added: "It’s one of those campaigns that will have a career-defining impact across society and across business, and we’re thrilled to be working with the teams across the M&C Saatchi network on bringing it to life."


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