Eight teams from some of the country’s most successful businesses are battling it out to become “apprentice team of the year”.

The Brathay Apprentice Challenge, which kicked off today with a 10-mile whaler boat race across Dorney Lake, includes teams of apprentices from Bentley, the Co-Operative, Virgin Media and Rolls Royce.

Jez Anderson from the Brathay Trust said: “The Challenge is designed to build on the work we have been doing for many years, helping apprentices’ personal development and demonstrating that apprentices don’t just help businesses grow, they also help develop their local communities.

“The search for the apprentice team of the year will not only demonstrate the formidable skills of the nation’s apprentices, but demonstrate the range of careers available to apprentices.”

The competition also has a team of apprentices which are potential candidates for the GB Junior Rowing Team, supported by Junior World Champion Finalist Jack Beaumont.

Rower Jack Beaumont said: “I am proud to be supporting the Brathay Apprentice Challenge. Many athletes who are representing our country, at the highest level, have completed SkillsActive’s Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence and so we know first hand the positive impact Apprenticeships have not just on those who take them, but on wider society.”

Challenges will take place over the next two months and test the teams’ abilities to work together, while fundraising for a variety of charities and spreading the word about what apprentices can achieve.

Jaine Bolton, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “We know that one of the main reasons employers offer Apprenticeships is to build skills capacity in their businesses and this Challenge will bring to life the benefits apprentices bring to employers.

“In this new era of higher quality Apprenticeships, that are helping the nation’s businesses grow, more needs to be done to recognise the incredible talent and success of the nation’s apprentices.

“Events like the Brathay Apprentice Challenge are vital in ensuring the success of our apprentices is celebrated and rewarded.”

The Brathay Apprentice Challenge will come to a head with a full day contest at Brathay’s Cumbrian training HQ on March 16th.

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