Business Secretary Vince Cable has visited global technology-enabled language solution provider, thebigword, at its Leeds HQ. Dr Cable’s visit to Leeds coincided with the latest campaign to promote Apprenticeships and the next phase of the Apprenticeship Standards. During his visit, he toured thebigword global hub which manages worldwide language projects from 13 offices in 12 countries, employing more than 500 people and working with 12,000 linguists.

Vince Cable was keen to meet apprentices on thebigword award-winning Apprenticeship Programme.  More than 120 apprentices have gone through the programme and 64 per cent go on to full-time jobs with the company.  thebigword has also been named a ‘Top 100 Apprentice Employer’ by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and won a Leeds City Council Apprenticeship Award.

During a full tour of the extensive HQ, Vince Cable met apprentices working on translation and interpreting projects and linguist recruitment.  He also met with representatives of thebigword Board – which has been praised for its 50/50 male and female ‘gender balance’.   In a board briefing, he heard about the technology that thebigword utilises to deliver language solutions for companies and governments worldwide.

Following the visit, Dr Vince Cable said: “For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people.  Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.”

From left to right; Bernadette Byrne, Group Client Services Director, Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable, Diane Cheesebrough, Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Anderson, Global Marketing Director