According to a survey by Jobsite, the current engineering talent shortfall is driven, not by lack of interest, but by the fact that young people simply do not know how to get started in the field.
The research found that six out of 10 (63%) 16-18 year olds don’t know what qualifications are necessary to become an engineer, while three quarters (74%) didn’t know of any engineering work experience opportunities. With more than 50 per cent of respondents expressing a desire to join the industry, the onus is on businesses and schools to bring engineering apprenticeships to the fore.
One company that is already working towards this goal is engineering solutions firm, adi Group, which currently has 19 employees enrolled on its post-16 apprenticeship scheme, and a dozen 14-16 year olds undertaking an adi pre-apprenticeship in partnership with a local school – the first programme of its kind in the UK.
The scheme involves 12 secondary school students – male and female – attending adi Group’s workshop for half a day each week. This occupies 10% of the students’ overall curriculum time as they continue to work on their GCSEs alongside the course.
Unfortunately, despite this being the right course of action, these types of partnerships are a rarity. According to an IAC survey of apprentices, half of all those surveyed found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative, with a mere 15% finding out from a teacher or careers adviser.
In fact, some students are being actively discouraged by their schools to take on apprenticeships, demonstrating the need for employers to work with educational providers to emphasise the value of work-based learning.
Ceo of adi Group, Alan Lusty, said: 'We are now seeing a generation of young people seriously considering engineering as a career choice, however, more needs to be done to match students up with high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.
“adi Group’s long term aim is to support the engineering and manufacturing industries by providing a constant stream of young talented people who are well prepared for specialist roles. Our pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes are clear demonstrations of that intent.”
He continued: “However, we can’t do it alone. We need more businesses to adopt similar initiatives and increase the number of work experience placements available. As rising numbers of young people are interested in a future in engineering, this is a demand we must meet. As such, the pre-apprenticeship model is completely available, free of charge, for any employer or school that wishes to replicate an existing scheme which has proven to work, and work well.”
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