This week marks the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week 2019, and to celebrate we’ve rounded up five positive stories surrounding UK manufacturing apprenticeships.
It is well-known that skills are high on the agenda for many industries, including manufacturing. Recruiting and retaining the right talent continues to be a long-standing and well-documented challenge for British manufacturers to overcome. But they are managing it, even if slowly.
1) High satisfaction for apprenticeships
The number of UK apprentices viewing their apprenticeships as a genuine career path has increased by almost 70%, according to extensive research from over 15,000 individuals.
An analysis of the post-apprenticeship data – reportedly the biggest survey of its kind ever undertaken – generated over five years, revealed how more apprentices than ever are recommending their route as a career path.
Satisfaction remains consistently high, as apprentices willing to suggest their programme’s employer to a friend has also reportedly averaged 98% in the past five years.
2) Apprentices become an increasingly popular choice over graduates
Evidence has shown that companies are giving greater priority to investing in apprenticeship programmes over recruiting graduates in order to gain specialist skills for the future, according to a survey published by Make UK (formerly EEF).
Almost three-quarters of companies (72%) are planning to recruit apprentices compared to 66% in 2014. By contrast, the number now planning to recruit graduates has fallen to 34%.
The survey shows a clear shift in the direction employers are heading to ensure they have the specialist skills they will need in the future.
3) Vocational routes are defended by education secretary
Education secretary Damian Hinds defended vocational courses and said that more value is needed to be given to vocational routes if Britain is to solve its productivity problem.
In a speech delivered at the end of last year, Hinds said Britain must stop treating vocational courses as inferior to academic courses.
He explained that if Britain’s productivity levels are to drastically improve, then vocational routes must be given the same prestige as academic ones.
4) Bentley Motors & BAE Systems recruits
Bentley Motors recruited a new intake of apprentices, undergraduates and graduates to its 4,000-strong workforce.
Out of the 83 new recruits, 40 apprentices will start training at the company’s headquarters in Crewe, bringing the current number of apprentices to nearly 140.
BAE Systems also announced plans to recruit 700 new apprentices in 2019, with total apprentice recruitment numbers 30% higher than the previous year.
The firm spends approximately £90m annually on its education, skills and early careers activities. Around 2,000 apprentices are in training across its UK businesses at any given time, with around 95% securing permanent roles each year.
5) Young people are being prepared for industry
The Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) is a collaboration between Unipart Manufacturing Group and Coventry University.
The initiative brings together partners in academia, industry and R&D in a ‘live’ manufacturing environment to develop industry-ready engineers.
Carl Perrin, director at Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, said to The Manufacturer previously, “What the AME has tried to do with this ‘faculty on the factory floor’ model, is show that businesses must play a much bigger role in the whole education process. From defining the course, and learning what the outcomes might be, to making manufacturing generally more accessible.”