IOE&IT’s current and recent apprentices celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2024

Fri 9 Feb 2024
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
IOE News
Level 3 International Friegh

National Apprenticeship Week has been taking place this week, with apprentices and employers celebrating the positive impact that these work-based training programmes have on communities, businesses and the UK economy. 

There are 750,000 learners currently enrolled on apprenticeship programmes across the UK, and the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) is itself a major advocate for their value, having recently launched its own new programme for the freight forwarding industry through its IOEx Ltd delivery arm.  

IOE&IT has also called on decisionmakers in the major political parties to address skills gaps in the UK by prioritising “new streams of training and apprenticeship opportunities for sectors in which there are the greatest shortages”. 

Success stories 

IOE&IT’s belief in apprenticeships is shaped by the success of its own staff who have been on them.  

Hollie Ward, an HR administrator, took a Level 3 in HR Support course with a college in Peterborough and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) while on an apprenticeship at IOE&IT. She had never worked in a business or office setting before but was able to “learn about the world of HR and business in more ways than I could have imagined.” 

“I was getting great hands-on experience and wonderful guidance from the IOE&IT HR team,” she says. “It really was a thrilling and educational experience, and it allowed me to discover my passion for HR as an industry and role.” 

“My colleagues at IOE&IT made it such a comfortable and exciting journey. It really was a great experience and it allowed me to find a lot of passion for HR work.” 

Since completing her apprenticeship, Ward has become permanently employed at IOE&IT and has even been shortlisted for an award in the ‘Young Person of the Year’ category at the Investor in People Awards in 2023.  

“I feel like I have found my home working for the IOE&IT, and I love being a part of the incredible HR team here. I feel very supported in gaining further experience within the field and the role I am currently in.  

“Since my apprenticeship, I’ve been able to attend training on topics such as neurodiversity in the workplace awareness, LGBTQ+ issues in businesses, and much more. These have further helped me develop as an HR professional and I’m excited to see what more I can learn about in my future with IOE&IT.” 

Never too late 

A common misconception with apprenticeships is that they’re only for young people leaving college or university.  

Patrick Hughes, a trade and customs specialist at IOE&IT, has been working in the logistics sector since the early 1990s, but recently started an apprenticeship on a Level 5 Learning & Skills Teacher qualification provided by Eden Training Solutions. 

He says the apprenticeship is helping him with developing “new ideas and processes that I can use on the IOE&IT courses that I am tutoring, helping me to enhance the learning experience for students”. 

“I am enjoying the experience as each new subject presents unique opportunities for learning.  

“The guidance provided by my mentors has been invaluable, allowing me to gain practical  experience that helps with the current tutoring I am completing.” 

He says that it was a bit of a shock needing to complete Functional Skills examinations in Maths and English for the course, but adds that he is “grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to continuing to learn new ideas and processes.” 


IOE&IT has been celebrating National Apprenticeships Week in style, with its career development manager Julia Bateson attending a celebration event at London’s iconic Mansion House Guild Hall on Wednesday this week (7 February), alongside two current apprentices including Hughes. 

“The event brought together employers, training providers, assessment organisations, government officials and apprentices to connect and celebrate the success of apprenticeships across the country,” she says. 

Bateson says IOE&IT as a whole has been celebrating this year’s theme, ‘Skills for Life’, with staff attending “talks from sector experts, an interactive panel session featuring employer and apprentice voices, and a premiere of a film by ITN Business showcasing apprenticeships best practice.”   

To find out more about IOE&IT’s freight forwarding apprenticeship, click here.