Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a multi-stakeholder initiative steered by the European Commission. The originator of the pledge is solely responsible for implementing the actions outlined in the pledge.

Author:Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency
Country:United Kingdom
Start Year:2016

Paul Wickes MBE, C.E.O.  Paul.wickes@cornwallmarine.net

Aurelie Nollet, Senior project executive Aurelie.nollet@cornwallmarine.net


Types of organisation:Education and training providers

Through a 2-year Erasmus+ project running until September 2018, CMN and the CAA along with 7 European organisations – national vocational education bodies, business federations and SME support organisations – will be committing to improving the image, supply and quality of apprenticeships in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.   

Our objective is to pool partners’ experience and expertise to build the capacity of intermediary bodies and ultimately to 1) provide SME businesses with enhanced solutions and support services that will facilitate the take-up, recruitment and training of apprentices; and 2) to address SMEs’ lack of understanding of the benefits than an apprentice can provide to their businesses.

Key project outlines include:

  • Identifying the barriers SMEs face to recruit apprentices
  • Understanding what the SMEs’ needs are in terms of support to access apprenticeships
  • Co-designing the products, tools and services that are required to provide this support to businesses
  • Delivering part of those pilot tools and services (including skills brokerage and in-company apprenticeship plans) in order to test their effectiveness
Short company / organisation description:

Cornwall Marine Network is a not-for-profit private company that is owned by 350 local marine member businesses and dedicated to supporting the marine sector in Cornwall via initiatives that improve profitability and encourage growth through quality and innovation. At our regional level, we help the industry by increasing skills in line with future industry needs, identifying specific training needs, and ensuring that training products are developed to meet marine businesses’ needs at an affordable cost.

In 2012, CMN established the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency as a response to a need for a new model tailored to small businesses that would reduce costs and risks associated with recruiting and employing apprentices. The CAA was awarded its ATA (Apprenticeship Training Agency) status from the UK National Apprenticeship Service and started trading across all business sectors.

The Agency offers a new & unique approach to recruiting and training apprentices:

  • A low risk solution: we match the right apprentices with the recruiting business and can employ the apprentice on its behalf
  • A personalised service: from helping with the short-list and interview process, to providing pastoral support to the apprentice along their pathway, we remove the time involved for SMEs in recruiting apprentices
  • A package of grants: whenever possible, we support the SME employers in accessing available grants and funding schemes for apprenticeships
Specialist expertise: SME businesses pay the wages and we take care of the payroll, tax, National Insurance and paperwork, allowing businesses to focus on growth
  • Fast and efficient service: we respond quickly to business needs in delivering a high quality and tailored service
  • A range of apprenticeships: offering a varied menu of vocations to choose from

Since it was set up, the CAA has expanded into the UK Apprenticeship Agency and delivered more than 1,150 new Apprenticeships in SMEs across Cornwall and England in a broad range of sectors and apprenticeship frameworks.

Area of action: Supply
Area of action: Quality
Area of action: Image

The following national vocational education bodies, business federations and SME support organisations will partner up and involve their members representing a network of over 3,500 SME businesses:

  • Osterreichisches Institut Fur Berufsbildungsforschung, Austria,
  • Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje, Slovenia
  • Federación Empresarial de Agroalimentación de la Comunidad Valenciana, Spain
  • Institouto Anaptixis Epicheirimatikotitas Astiki Etaireia, Greece
  • k.o.s GmbH, Germany
  • Maison de l’Emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle du Pays de Brest, France
  • Polska Fundacja Osrodkow Wspomagania Rozwoju Gospodarczego OIC POLAND z siedziba w Lublinie, Poland

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