New platform highlights top engineering apprenticeship employers

Posted on 16 Apr 2024 by The Manufacturer

Leeds Manufacturing Festival will host the launch of a pioneering new digital platform this week, showcasing the very best employers offering engineering apprenticeships across the UK, as part of the festival’s campaign to address the skills and recruitment crisis facing manufacturing and engineering firms.

The ground-breaking Engineering Apprenticeships: Excellent Employers online directory and engineering careers resource, which will be launched as part of the festival in Leeds on 18 April, is the brainchild of Next Gen Makers, which delivers a nationally recognised quality assurance programme for engineering apprenticeships.

“This new resource is designed to signpost young people, their parents and careers teachers through the maze of engineering employers on offer and to tell them categorically that the firms that we feature are the best employers in the region, are committed to going the extra mile for their apprentices and have been given the thumbs up by the young people who are doing apprenticeships with them,” said Adam Tipper, managing director of Next Gen Makers.

“These current apprentices are the stakeholders who matter most and, quite rightly, based on their feedback, we are validating companies as a great place for other young people to start their engineering careers.”

Nationally, around 80 companies are currently involved in the Next Gen Makers community, with just over half of these set to feature on the platform when it launches.

Employers featured in the directory, which will be available free to schools and college, have achieved or are working towards the Engineering Apprenticeships: Employer Kitemark, a national accreditation backed by manufacturing organisation Make UK. The kitemark itself is 80% based on feedback from current engineering apprentices.

Adam Thornton, Leeds Manufacturing Alliance steering group member and CEO of Leeds-based Kirkstall Precision Engineering, which was the first firm to receive the kitemark accreditation, said: “There’s an acute shortage of engineers in the UK, with Government figures showing hundreds of thousands of apprentices quitting each year because of a negative experience with employers.

“Engineering and manufacturing simply can’t afford such a talent drain, so it’s crucial that initiatives like the festival and organisations like Next Gen Makers help companies understand how to create the best possible apprentice experience within well-structured schemes. This will help employers retain the talent within their workforce during the apprenticeship and beyond.”

Matthew Barton, operations and technical director at Yorkshire-based control panel designer and manufacturer Bensons Panels, which has recently been awarded the top, ‘gold standard’ Excellent Employer status, for its apprenticeship programme, said: “Like many engineering businesses, the age profile of our workforce makes it essential for us recruit new young talent to secure the company’s future. We put a huge amount into ensuring our apprentices have a great experience, feel valued and fulfilled, and ultimately want to stay on and develop their career with Bensons. It’s great that the new guide gives us and other employers with thriving apprenticeship schemes the chance to stand out from the crowd.”

Leeds Manufacturing Festival is sponsored by Next Gen Makers, Leeds City College, and E3 Recruitment, as well as by Leeds City Council and manufacturing employers MPM, Leeds Welding Company, Greyhound Box and Sound Leisure, Kirkstall Precision Engineering, Saftronics and Bensons Panels, which are members of the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance.

For more articles like this, visit our People & Skills channel