Valkyrie aiming to tackle skills gap

Quality and quantity of graduates lacking, warns EEF

A Staffordshire training provider is aiming to help regional businesses address skills shortages after providing two apprentices to a nearby engineering company.

Valkyrie Support Services, based in Uttoxeter, provided the apprentices for process engineers JWCI after the company found difficult attracting them to work at its Fole, Staffordshire workshop.

This was due to young apprentices being unable to drive to its remote location, thus being unable to obtain day release from local colleges.

But this changed after JWCI got in touch with Valkyrie, which addressed what JWCI director Kerry Callear described as a long standing problem in an industry requiring skilled pipe fitters, TIG welders and engineers.

“Over the past 14 years of trading finding a suitable training provider to support our apprentices due to the location or our projects has been short of impossible, most young apprentices cannot drive therefore getting them to day release at college as not always been possible,” she said.

“When we came across Valkyrie and told us that they could support apprentice training at our workshop at times to suit our busy working schedules, this was an offer we could not refuse.”

Such was the success of the partnership, Callear also said the company is exploring the possibility of acquiring another apprentice in the coming weeks.

“Apprentices within our industry are they way forward, there is such a shortage of young people training in the engineering sector that is having a huge impact on providing services and this will only get worse should we not provide this training,” she added.

Thomas Callear, one of the JWCI apprentices who undertook an apprenticeship through Valkyrie, said: “This apprenticeship with Valkyrie will provide me with the certification for all my training and supports the knowledge I have gained.”

Valkyrie’s director of operations Richard Hick said he has seen a positive reversal in manufacturing activity since the economic downturn, mainly due to companies taking firm action during the recession.

“Some took drastic action as the first recession took hold,but those people are often now seeing the fruits of some tough decision making,” he said.

“Others have successfully predicted changes in the market and have diversified their operations in order to move with the times.”