Industrial Cadets: from idea to national skills scheme in five years

Posted on 18 Feb 2016 by Jonny Williamson

A conversation between HRH The Prince of Wales and Jon Bolton (at the time) director of Tata Steel Long Products, started an important initiative in improving the workplace experiences of young people, helping inspire and inform them about their local industries.

CROP Taken: 17th Feb 2016    Prince Charles visit to Redcar  Byline: Dave Charnley Photography  Mobile: 07753 559235
Prince Charles visits Industrial Cadets at Redcar.

Over the past five years, Industrial Cadets has developed into a national accreditation for work experiences, emphasising skills development and knowledge of career opportunities.

Industrial Cadets is now growing extremely rapidly, with recent support from government, and leadership drawn from many of the UK’s top manufacturing and engineering companies.

His Royal Highness met Industrial Cadets and Jon Bolton at an event at the Redcar Community Heart yesterday, celebrating the achievements over the past five years in turning an idea into a nationally established Industrial Cadets initiative.

Industrial Cadets started in 2011 as a workplace experience programme run by Tata Steel in the North East of England.

In 2013, The Prince of Wales announced the national launch of the programme as an employer-led initiative, under the management of education charity, EDT (the Engineering Development Trust).

In 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced funding for the further development of Industrial Cadets.

There are now more than 3,500 Industrial Cadets, drawn from over 1,000 schools.

To date, more than 200 companies have run Industrial Cadet accredited programmes and over 400 employees have been trained as mentors.

Jon Bolton commented: “It is a privilege to have been part of the development of an initiative which is so important for the future of UK industry.

“Industrial Cadets allows young people to see the industries in their local area, understand the careers that they offer, and it takes the first steps in providing employability skills which will equip them for those careers.

“From that first conversation with HRH The Prince of Wales five years ago, an organisation of substance and great value has emerged. Industrial Cadets is growing quickly to make an important contribution to UK Skills.”

The strict quality control of the Industrial Cadets accreditation has delivered impressive impact for the young people involved.

More than  95% of Cadets identify an improvement in their work relevant skills such as team work; critical thinking; communication, and organisation and planning.

Crucially, 70% of those taking part feel they are more likely to go into industry as a result of being an Industrial Cadet, a key objective of the initiative.