Engineering firm reveals top tips for taking on apprentices

Young apprentices working in the firm's Birmingham workshops as part of a new initiative to get children engaged in engineering - image courtesy of adi Group.
Young apprentices working in the firm's Birmingham workshops as part of a new initiative to get children engaged in engineering - image courtesy of adi Group.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, adi Group is sharing the knowledge it has gained since launching the UK’s first pre-apprenticeship scheme for 14-16 year olds, with the aim of encouraging other businesses to provide more opportunities for young people.

The scheme, which was launched in September 2016, involves 12 secondary school students attending adi Group’s Birmingham workshop for half a day each week.

Running alongside their GCSE education, this course occupies 10% of the students’ overall curriculum time and allows them to receive a formal qualification upon completion. The Midlands-based group also has a total of 14 students currently enrolled on its post-16 apprenticeship scheme.

Below are some key pieces of advice that adi Group hopes other businesses take on board:

Future investment

It’s important to see apprentices as an investment, not only for the future of your business, but for the industry as a whole. Further to this, skills shortages are problematic for employers in all sectors, with UK businesses losing out on opportunities due to a lack of trained staff. Taking on an apprentice allows a business to build a loyal workforce of people with the necessary skills to remain competitive.

Boosted productivity

adi Group has found that apprentices tend to be eager to learn, motivated and more flexible. In fact, according to The National Apprenticeship Service, 88% of apprentice employers believe they lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, and 81% also said that they make their businesses more productive.

Enhanced reputation

A good apprenticeship scheme can be reflected in an enhanced reputation for the business within their industry and the local community. A recent study found UK consumers prefer to work with companies employing apprentices, business estimated to be worth some £18bn.

Corporate Social Responsibility

By partnering up with local school, North Bromsgrove High School and BITC, adi Group found that establishing such relationships really cements ties with the local community. This also helps in providing a good source of pre-apprentice candidates, along with expert guidance on teaching structure.

It’s easier than you think

The adi Group pre-apprenticeship model is freely available for any employer or school that wishes to replicate an existing scheme which has proven to work, and work well. Implementation is straightforward, and any industry can benefit from encouraging the younger generations to try something new and explore the world of work.

Alan Lusty, chief executive, adi Group
Alan Lusty, chief executive, adi Group.

CEO of adi Group, Alan Lusty explained: “The need for apprentices to help close the skills gap is more relevant than ever, with figures from the Engineering UK 2017 report showing the industry demands 265,000 skilled entrants – including 186,000 engineers – every year until 2024 in order to meet demand.

“Since launching the UK’s first engineering pre-apprenticeship scheme for 14-16 year olds in September 2016, adi Group has been at the forefront of revolutionising the future of STEM education in the UK and tackling the nationwide deficit in high-quality apprenticeships.

“Our aim is to use a multi-level network of customers, suppliers and partners, to reach thousands of children and inspire them to enter the work arena.”