Apprenticeships: Fire It Up

Revealing the reality of Apprenticeships today, the campaign centres on electrical sparks coming off everything the apprentices touch, symbolising their energy, passion and spirit. The work champions Apprenticeships as an extraordinary tool for learning, overcoming people's outdated perceptions.

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We created a flagship government campaign for the Department for Education (DfE) to raise awareness and encourage reappraisal of Apprenticeships by both employers and candidates.

The work sets out to challenge the current perception of Apprenticeships, which are often associated with low wages and manual labour. The creative centres on electrical sparks coming off the apprentices and everything they touch, symbolising their energy, passion and spirit. The campaign also tells the stories of real people whose lives and businesses have been changed by apprenticeships.

The ambitious relaunch required an emotionally-led campaign with a universally engaging idea. This led to the platform idea and new strapline ‘Fire It Up’, which speaks both to the benefits derived by the employer and to someone considering an apprenticeship.

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 ground breaking, 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.”

The ‘Fire It Up’ idea will live beyond traditional media channels and sits at the heart of all engagement activity from career fairs, to school engagement programmes, to employer and intermediary engagement activity.

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

The creation of this website and all supporting content was developed by M&C Saatchi’s new creative tech offering, M&KE, which is being led by Niall Wilson. “Our collaboration with the brilliant ESFA team in Coventry has broken new ground for It puts us in great shape to keep this idea active and front of mind, in-between peaks of campaign activity,” added Wilson.

M&C Saatchi

MAKE CHANGE For 25 years, M&C Saatchi has changed the nation’s attitudes, habits, minds, diets and even its Government. In 2020, we joined forces with the former LIDA agency, boosting our strength in data-driven behaviour change at a personal level. Driving the new agency is Camilla Kemp (CEO) and Ben Golik (CCO), our very own dream team. Our national behaviour change movements are activated right down to the individual and our customer loyalty programmes have found their place in the nation’s heart. This gives us the nous to reach everyone and every single someone, to change how they think and how they act. Whether your brand is facing change – or forcing it – we are at our best when helping clients create opportunity in change.