Following an apprentice drive from the transport systems and products remanufacturer ZF Services, a subsidiary of automotive parts supplier ZF Group, the manufacturing Sector Skills Council Semta has pressed for more manufacturers to follow suit.
The East Midlands-based firm has announced that it is to recruit five new apprentices each year after receiving support from Semta. The company’s apprenticeship commitment will contribute towards meeting the predicted future skills needs of the region where Semta research indicates that 14,100 new technical recruits are needed between now and 2016.
Paula Saunders, head of HR at ZF Services UK said: “We recognise that developing a highly skilled, flexible workforce will bring competitive advantages. Our apprentices will help ensure that the company has the technical skills to deliver an efficient, cost effective service for our customers.”
Working with Semta, the company will enrol apprentices onto a level two course, while also allowing them to complete an experience profile to qualify for the NVQ 3 in Mechatronics.
Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta said: “We urge other companies to follow ZF Services example whilst funding and support is available to take on apprentices. The benefits are well proven – improved skills, better productivity and motivation.”
Mr Whiteman added that employers uptake of apprentices was disappointing in 2011. He said: “The latest N/SVQ data demonstrates a slight decline in the number of registrations compared to the same period last year. Worryingly, the biggest drop was in Level 3 registrations which fell nine per cent.”
Looking to the year ahead, Whiteman said that businesses need to understand the importance of upskilling and growing their own future talent to tackle skills gaps and shortages.
Semta can support companies to hire, train and fund apprentices or provide advice and guidance on the many available frameworks and qualifications. For further information, contact Peter Kealy at The Manufacturer on 0207 202 4893.