Our mission is to build professional apprenticeships as an outstanding alternative to university. That extends beyond just the academic, though, it means creating an experience that rivals the one you'd get at top unis and colleges.

Our community function is essential to delivering this experience. It gives our thousands of apprentices and alumni the opportunity to grow their networks and develop as professionals - both through our online community platform, and a varied schedule of online and in-person events.

We also support apprentices to develop their own groups and networks. The Women’s Network and Multicultural Network are run by and for apprentices. These networks bring together members with shared identities and experiences, enabling them to connect and be supported to achieve their goals.

Now, we are pleased to launch our third community network: PRISM; a network dedicated to supporting our LGBTQ+ apprentice community.

We know that members from underrepresented groups may face more barriers to achieving their goals. The PRISM Network will enable those that identify with the LGBTQ+ community to connect, share experiences and support one another.

The network has been launched with a special edition of Multiverse’s ‘A Seat at the Table’ series. Hosted by PRISM Network Chair and Digital Marketing Apprentice Steph Preston, the event explored some of the key moments in LGBTQ+ history in the UK and US, as well as present-day issues facing the community. Panellists included Amelia Abraham, journalist and author of Queer Intentions; Ben Hunte, VICE News Senior Reporter and former BBC LGBT Correspondent; and Ashley T Brundage, leadership & empowerment expert and CEO of Empowering Differences.

PRISM Network Chair & Multiverse Community Networks Lead Jon Dookie stated: “The social and professional networks you build, both as an apprentice and as a professional, are key to your journey and development. For me, launching PRISM means creating a space for apprentices and alumni to share experiences and grow with other apprentices in the LGBTQ+ community, supporting each other and building their network. There are parts of your professional journey that only other queer people will understand and its refreshing knowing that there is now a space for myself and others to share our experiences and gain advice from each other.”

Network Chair Steph Preston said: “There’s always been a gap in spaces for LGBTQ+ people to come together, in both professional and personal settings. We hope that PRISM can help this through being not only a supportive environment to queer people and our allies, but by facilitating discussions around topics that are affecting our community on a daily basis. Having just launched with our panel discussion on LGBTQ+ Workers’ Rights, I’m especially excited by this opportunity to co-curate events and content that will have a meaningful impact and to educate and inform the rest of the Multiverse Community.”

The Multiverse community has a tangible impact on apprentice attainment: apprentices who are active in our community are more likely to achieve a merit or distinction as their final grade. It’s vital for professional and personal development, and enables us to stand out as a provider.