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YMCA Awards and many of our partners have had enormous successes lobbying policy-makers, but what if we could combine our efforts and provide a platform whereby the industry’s highest performing providers and sector experts could speak as one?

It was this question that prompted us to launch the YMCA Awards Vanguard Group, a new, bespoke and exclusive service for YMCA Awards highest performing clients, with the aim of influencing policy-makers and driving meaningful change within the sector.

Last week, we launched the Vanguard Group at a working breakfast in Parliament attended by 19 of YMCA Awards partners and seven influential parliamentarians with interests in the sector, including the newly appointed Apprentice Ambassador, Stephen Metcalfe MP.

At the breakfast, attendees debated the need to support the sport and leisure sector and discussed the merits of incorporating a new pathway for fitness into the Government’s T-Level plan.

Other key topics of conversion included:

• Improving the reputation of apprenticeships amongst parents, schools and potential learners;

• Issues surrounding the apprenticeship reforms, including employer contributions and the apprenticeship levy;

• The need for improved careers advice in schools;

• The need for suitable English and maths qualifications to replace the GCSE condition of funding.

On the back of the insightful discussions we are hoping that those parliamentarians present take time to reflect upon what they have heard and use the Vanguard Groups’ expertise to guide them in creating and influencing policy.

The Vanguard breakfast was the first event of a whole series being planned which we hope will continue to enable those within the sector to work with policy-makers to ensure that the fitness and Further Education sectors deliver for customers, learners and wider society.

If you would like more information about the Vanguard Group and its activities please email, or if you are interested in learning more about YMCA Awards please do email us at or call +44 (0)20 7343 1800.