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Department for Education launches first apprenticeship campaign with M&C Saatchi

The Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled its first campaign since M&C Saatchi was appointed last October with a remit to launch a new campaign.

The £2.5m apprenticeship appointment was met with discontent from Labour. The political party queried the spend when in reality, the number of people entering apprenticeship schemes had dropped by 34% over a year, with just 290,500 individuals accepting a placement.

The DfE awarded M&C Saatchi the contract to oversee an integrated communications campaign to raise the profile of training programs among both businesses and job seekers following a competitive tender.

The 'Fire It Up' campaign sets out to challenge the current perception of apprenticeships, and disassociate them from the opinion that they are often low wage, manual jobs.

The film follows a group of young adults as they rise early and set off to their respective apprenticeships. As the youths get themselves ready, sparks of electricity channels through them, symbolising their energy, passion and spirit.

As the film flicks though close-up shots of the apprentices' faces, the words "We're not like everyone else... we're ready now" flash across the screen.

The 'Fire It Up' campaign will include engagment activity from career fairs, to school engagement programmes, to employer and intermediary engagement activity.

A new website,, will also go live, created by a joint team from M&C Saatchi and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA). The site will offer an overview for employers and candidates of what it means to hire an apprentice and become one.

Gemmaine Walsh, director of DfE Communications Group, said: “This is a flagship Government campaign which has the potential to change how people think and feel about Apprenticeships - and have a real impact the lives of thousands of people. It’s great to have M&C Saatchi on board and we are excited to see how our new approach will change attitudes.

M&C Saatchi chief creative officer Justin Tindall said: “Apprenticeships have a perception problem. They’re not seen as a cool, active choice. This groundbreaking, progressive campaign sets out to turn that perception on its head by shining a light on the energy, passion and palpable spark that embodies apprentices and the exciting range of career paths open to them.”

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