The clock is ticking and time is running out for employers and training providers to enter teams of apprentices into the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014 (#BAC14), the official search for the apprentice team of the year. Nominations close on Friday 13th December - an unlucky day for those who don't get their nominations in on time.
Reigning champions Innovia Films have pledged to take part again to defend their title along with 2013 joint runners up Cobham and Norse Commercial Services.
As Innovia's Sam Ogle wrote on the Huffington Post; since winning the 2013 award in June the winners have met the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, their local MP, Apprenticeship Champion MPs, the head of the National Apprenticeship Service and have spent time on fact finding research and developing recommendations for getting young people involved in community activities.
A group representing the finalists also met the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss how community engagement by young people, including the Brathay Apprentice Challenge team members, can be better recognised by government and society.
In addition to the community projects, the Challenge drives apprentices to prove their team building, leadership, logistical and communication abilities in a series of activities including awareness raising and fundraising. Last year the apprentices managed to raise a staggering £35,000 for local and national charities. While raising this money the apprentices also found the time to conduct over 300 school visits promoting the value of Apprenticeships and deliver over 60 community projects ranging from renovating derelict empty space to holding CV drop-ins for local youngsters.
As with last year, the teams of nine apprentices entering the Brathay Apprentice Challenge can be made up all from a single employer, a group of small businesses, an industry sector, supply chain or training provider. Giving all businesses the chance to show just what their up-and coming stars can do.
The teams start in the regional heats where they are tasked with completing community projects and raising the profile of apprenticeships from January until March when the eight finalist teams will be announced.
From April through to June the eight finalist teams continue their profile raising activities and community projects and are then invited to Brathay's Windermere Headquarters for the logistical and team building finale.
Throughout the Challenge the apprentices get the chance to improve skills that are much sought after in the workplace, gaining something personally while also helping their organisation by using the new skills they have learned in the workplace.
In this way, the Challenge not only gives teams the opportunity to be recognised as the official apprentice team of the year, but also gives employers the opportunity to offer 'enhanced Apprenticeships'.
Through enhanced Apprenticeships, employers benefit by providing apprentices with even more skills by taking part in team building, leadership, logistical and communications activity and apprentices will become more employable.
To see what it took Innovia Films to be crowned 2013 apprentice team of the year watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GS0hMdQLA8
For more information and to nominate your team for the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014 visit: http://bit.ly/BAC2014