Social Action and Apprenticeships: British Gas’s Partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

April 5 2016

In order to help young employees to cultivate leadership skills and develop experience of social action outside of work, British Gas apprentices take part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).

This partnership is currently in its tenth year, and to date, 2200 apprentices have completed their Gold Award. The DofE is a life-changing journey as British Gas apprentices get fit, give back to their communities, learn new skills and head out in to the wilds of the UK on expedition.  Each apprentice sets their own challenges and targets, pushes their personal boundaries and gains meaningful and future-shaping experiences. 

Taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award begins with a one week off-site induction for all apprentices before their formal apprenticeship training begins. This gives trainees the chance to bond informally before starting work as well as practice the soft skills required during their apprenticeship.

The DofE then offers apprentices on-going support throughout the course of their 18 month programme and helps them to develop transferable skills such as confidence, team work, communication and customer service though volunteering to help different groups of people.

It also allows apprentices to add a significant amount of experience onto their CVs beyond their formal apprenticeship training, as the kinds of skills gained through volunteering and social action are increasingly being recognised in recruitment processes.

Impact

This partnership has helped British Gas to achieve a 95% apprentice completion rate as well as enabling apprentices to contribute over 100,000 hours of volunteering in their communities.

British Gas has also found that there is a better retention rate over a five year period of engineers who started off as apprentices compared to those who did not.

David Marsh, Head of Academies, British Gas comments; “At British Gas we're in our tenth year of supporting our apprentices to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) as part of their apprenticeship programme. Our Academies are outstanding at giving our apprentices the technical skills they need to be successful in their future roles within British Gas, and the DofE Award helps our young recruits to develop vital 'soft skills' in leadership, team work and communication. The formal skills training from our Academies combined with the DofE Award is a highly successful combination that has helped us reach an apprentice achievement and retention rate of 95%. We think it's crucial that businesses focus on investing in the development of young people in their organisation. The practical guidance and resources provided on the Future Proof site are invaluable for any business looking to grow a sustainable future workforce."