Apprenticeships have been a hot topic of debate this week, as the Holt Review recommended changes to increase uptake by SMEs and disappointing GCSE results prompted discussions on how to provide the skills the the UK so desperately needs to compete on an international stage.
JCB has created more than 100 jobs this year, focusing on hiring young people that it hopes will supply the skills it requires for years to come. It will recruit 15 apprentices directly from its own JCB Academy.
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: “Investing in new talent is vital for the future success of any business. I’m particularly pleased to welcome JCB’s first recruits from the JCB Academy where they have benefited from working on real-life engineering projects to prepare them for the world of work.”
The JCB Academy, which accepted its first pupils in 2010, set a gold standard for University Technical Colleges with its first set of results. It is the first UTC to produce a set of GCSE results and outperformed the national average with 99% achieving A* to C grades in Principal Learning in Engineering, which is the equivalent of four GCSEs, while 88% gained a C or above in GCSE mathematics.
“These young people are leaving The Academy with the core skills they need to have successful and fulfilling careers within the engineering industry,” said JCB Academy principal Jim Wade.
The JCB Academy was established to develop employability skills amongst young people and to enable them to achieve academic and technical qualifications.
Already this week, 55 higher, advanced and craft apprentices joined JCB. Thirty graduates covering manufacturing, powertrain, business and purchasing will start work next week.
The apprentices, graduates and undergraduates have been recruited as part of a £3.5m investment in a ‘Young Talent’ programme.
Holly Broadhurst, 18, joined JCB as an apprentice from The JCB Academy and said that it prepared her well for the world of work. “There wasn’t just a focus on text book learning but problem solving and projects. I was offered a place at Sheffield Hallam University but chose to become a Higher Apprentice with JCB because it offers the opportunity to study for a foundation degree and later a bachelor’s degree while working and earning a salary.”