Views & opinions

Read our latest views & opinions including our CEO's response to government policy, employees' experience working for us and guest posts from influential figures in skills development.

February 2019: The Ripple-effect: how one skilled person can change a nation’s future

It started as a simple goal; help a woman in Ghana to finish medical school. After all, Sheila was already a third of the way there but couldn’t afford it after her father passed away.

Read more >

May 2018: How can organisations support mental health

To raise awareness during the Mental Health Week, Emma Nicholls, Head of Employee Engagement at City & Guilds Group, talks about stress, the workplace and ways in which we can look after each other.

Read more from Emma Nicholls >

May 2018: Why our heritage is still so important

Michelle O'Brien reflects on her first year working at the City & Guilds Group and tell us why our 140 year heritage is still so important.

Read more from Michelle O'Brien >

April 2018: Why I chose an apprenticeship route

Ellie McWilliams joined the City & Guilds Group doing an apprenticeship nearly two years ago. After studying A Levels, Ellie tells us how she came about deciding to do an apprenticeship, and why she is pleased that that’s the route she chose.

Read more from Ellie McWilliams >

December 2017: Political shockwaves and leadership

John Williams, Director of Customer Insight and Proposition Development at the City & Guilds Group, shares his thoughts on the recent political events that have been shaking the global status quo. With these events rocking the boat, he explores the difficult questions that are being asked about leadership.

Read more from John Williams >

November 2017: The Future of Social Investment and why great support matters too

With the launch of UnLtd’s Impact Fund last week, Ben Smith, UnLtd’s Investment Lead, explores what investors and intermediaries need to change for social ventures to start achieving impact at scale.

Read more from Ben Smith >

July 2017: From internship to apprenticeship - how work experience helped me to get on the career ladder

Elizabeth Hill was an intern for six weeks and is currently doing a Level 3 Business Admin apprenticeship with the Quality Team in City & Guilds.

Hear about her experiences and advice for young people who may be considering a similar career path.

Read more from Elizabeth Hill >

June 2017: Future Proof's Grace Mehanna on why we need to start listening to young people’s experience of recruitment

All too often companies look to change young people to fit narrow outdated recruitment criteria rather than looking at how they can make their own processes more accessible. With the workplace changing, we know that businesses need to update their approach. 

That’s why BITC is kicking off their work in Bristol with an event for local employers to explore how they can make jobs more accessible for young people in the region.

Read more from Grace Mehanna >

June 2017: Chris Jones responds to the Queen's speech

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, shares his views on the Queen's speech, and what the UK Government needs to think about with Brexit looming.

Read the full response >

March 2017: Are you ready for the apprenticeship Levy?

In this guest post, Simon Reichwald, Strategic Lead for Emerging Talent at MyKindaFuture looks at the impact the Apprenticeship Levy will have on employers when it is launched on 06 April 2017.

Read more from Simon here >

March 2017: Chris Jones responds to the Government's Spring Budget

Chris Jones, Group Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group shares his views the Government's Spring budget and the impact it will have on training and technical education in the future.

Read the response now >

March 2017: Helping young people to make the most of the apprenticeship levy

Matt Dronfield is the Senior Employability Manager at London Youth. He tells us why he thinks it’s important to help young people recognise the opportunities that apprenticeships offer given that only 5% of apprentices are left jobless within a year of completing their training, compared to 16% of university graduates.

Read more from Matt here >

After sitting two exams this week (contract law and employment law) it suddenly dawned on me that I am now half way through my apprenticeship and a year through my time at City & Guilds, and I'm left asking myself where the time has gone!

Read more about Nicole's first year as the City & Guilds Group Legal Apprentice >

February 2017: Managing apprentices takes empathy and bravery

I’ve managed a few people in my career so far – two of which have been apprentices here at the Group.

I think most people wrestle with how well they are doing as a manager – am I being too demanding, too soft? Are my expectations too high, not high enough? Am I communicating enough, not enough?

Read more from Emma about managing apprentices >

January 2017: How my apprenticeship has helped me to move up the career ladder

Ellie McWilliams joined us as Group Brand Apprentice last year and has nearly finished her apprenticeship. Here she reflects on what she has learnt over the past year, and how she is going to take those learnings with her into the next stage of her career.

Read more from Ellie McWilliams >

January 2017: Why businesses across the country are ‘banning the box’

Earlier this year, the Civil Service joined a growing list of employers to ‘Ban the Box’ in an effort to open up job opportunities for ex-offenders. As one of the country’s largest employers with a workforce of approx 400,000, this decision represents a huge triumph for the millions of people in the UK with a criminal conviction.It also signals an important shift in employers’ attitudes towards ex-offenders and sets an example I hope many more businesses will follow.

Afterall, it may surprise people to learn that 10.5 million people in the UK have a criminal conviction – that’s 1 in 5 of the adult population. The majority of convictions are court fines for minor one-time offences.


Read more from Nicola Inge >

December 2016: Giving back to the homeless community through volunteering

With busy lives it can be really hard for us to find time to volunteer, but giving in simple ways doesn’t just help to improve your health and happiness. It can even teach you new skills – all while supporting communities in need.

As part of the City & Guilds Group’s community investment programmes, all employees are entitled to take part in volunteering opportunities. Last month, I decided that I wanted to do something to help homeless people, so three of us from the Corporate Relations team volunteered at The Whitechapel Mission – a homeless charity that has been serving the homeless and marginalised for 140 years.

Read more about the work The White Chapel Mission undergo >


August 2016: How to get the most out of your work experience placement

Time and time again we hear employers say that when they’re recruiting it’s not just about the grades that you’ve got, it’s also about the experience you have as well. That’s why work experience is so important.

Here are our top tips to help you secure a placement and get the most out of it.

Read more >

August 2016: Why offering high quality work experience placements are important

Work experience week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of high quality work experience in the UK. This gives us an opportunity to look at why work experience is important and how it can help young people progress in their careers. 

Tiana Locker, our Youth Engagement Executive, gives some advice to employers who are thinking about offering work experience placements.

Read more from Tiana Locker>  

Opportunities and risks for corporate learning

It’s a changing world for skills development – in further and higher education, but also in the corporate learning sphere. Shifts in funding, global labour markets and technology are keeping us all on our toes. How are we responding and what’s likely to be around the corner?

Read more from Kineo's Matt Johnson >

Unlocking potential

We all make bad decisions which can affect the rest of our lives. For the 85,500 people currently in UK prisons and the many hundreds of thousands more living in the community with a criminal record these decisions can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and unemployment.

Read more about the work St Giles Trust do >

How I landed my first job with no experience

I’ve been with the City & Guilds Group nearly six months now and recently I’ve been thinking about what our Group purpose really means to me and where I feel I am now in relation to it.

‘We help people develop the skills they need to progress into a job, on the job and onto the next job’.

Read more about Ellie's journey >

Skills training empowers northern Ghana’s next generation

In Ghana’s rural Upper East Region, 1 in 5 people live in extreme poverty. For a young adult growing up in this deprived area of the world there are few promising opportunities but AfriKids is working to change this.

Read more >

Making prison work, once and for all

It’s been more than 20 years since Michael Howard declared that 'prison works'. Since then, there have been extensive debates about whether he was right, whether our sentencing guidelines are appropriate, and which steps we need to take to reduce crime.

Read more from Chris Jones in the Daily Telegraph >

Future proof your work force

Employers are missing a massive trick. Some of the most talented candidates are filtered out before being considered for an interview. This is robbing UK businesses of the chance to cultivate the next generation of workers – and it needs to change, otherwise our economy will be at risk.

Read more from Chris Jones >

Maintain this commitment to skills

‘We are pleasantly surprised by the Chancellor’s commitment to professional and technical education and his recognition that this is essential to our economy. Although apprenticeships are important, they will not solve the nation’s skills shortages in isolation. We need a holistic commitment to professional and technical education to achieve the Government’s commitment to one million new jobs. Perhaps this is a start, but time will tell. 

‘We welcome the protection of the adult skills budget, the investment in University Technical Colleges and provision of loans to help individuals develop their skills. This commitment needs to be maintained.’ 

Read more of our response to the Chancellor's Spending Review >

'Young people still don't understand the benefits of apprenticeships'

I launched MyKindaFuture, then MyKindaCrowd, in 2012. This is when the UK Government withdrew from providing comprehensive career guidance to young people, which also coincided with an increased industry focus on addressing their skills gaps.

I used my industry skills to create a strategic concept for a holistic model – helping facilitate connections between young people and business.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2016, we have launched research that revealed students still don't truly understand the benefits of embarking on an apprenticeship versus an undergraduate route.

Read the full blog from Will Akerman >

Skills in a fast moving world

Chris Jones, CEO of the City & Guilds Group, talks about the importance of our role in putting skills on the agenda in an ever-changing world.

Watch the video and see how the City & Guilds Group is making a difference >

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