Why we must do more to promote the vital role of apprenticeships
Every year, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) celebrates the power of apprenticeships, highlighting the positive impact they make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The benefits that apprentices bring to businesses are invaluable, providing significant returns on investment, and yet not enough businesses are taking advantage of this vital resource, particularly in the engineering sector, which is already suffering from a talent shortage.
Alan Lusty, CEO of multidisciplinary engineering firm adi Group, warns that more businesses should seek to implement apprenticeship schemes to safeguard the future of the industry.
“Not enough businesses have recognised the sheer potential of apprenticeships in today’s engineering world, and just how much these can benefit their company, as well as make a positive impact on the industry”, he commented.
With its quality EAL-accredited pre-apprenticeship and also its apprenticeship offering, along with its overall commitment to investing in the future of young aspiring engineers, adi Group is a positive example for others in the industry and beyond.
Having begun his own engineering career as an apprentice, Lusty is determined to spearhead a change in mindset in businesses, educating others on the importance of apprenticeships.
He said: "We want to motivate other businesses within the industry to take proactive measures to change the engineering sector for the better, and a crucial aspect of this transformation is recognising and championing the indispensable role of apprenticeships."
Data shows that apprenticeship starts in 2022/23 are down 3% compared to the previous year, showing a discouraging lack of growth. But with predictions that the labour demand gap in engineering will widen, with an estimated shortfall of 40,000 workers by 2028, businesses should look towards apprenticeships as a key element of the solution.
Apprenticeship schemes represent a highly effective route for individuals aspiring to enter the STEM fields. While statistics reveal that university degrees and higher education remain the predominant choice among young people in the UK, apprenticeships are able to offer the practical skills and experience that are necessary within engineering, which traditional academia can neglect to provide.
Going on to share his advice on how to offer best-in-class apprenticeships, Lusty said: “It’s about helping budding engineers gain the hands-on core skills and knowledge they need to progress and succeed in an engineering career, in the right ways.
“adi’s pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship models are unique in the field, being carefully designed to help outline a path of success for young talent within the industry and increase accessibility.
“We offer youngsters the opportunity to gain practical engineering skills in their chosen area from our own in-house mentors, as well as experience the intricacies a real-world work environment, which we believe to be vital.
“And we don’t just train apprentices on the engineering aspects of the job – we nurture all areas of their development, getting them involved in responsible business activities, training them up on health and safety and sustainability, and helping them build relevant soft skills.
“We further aid their growth through a dedicated mentorship scheme, designed to ensure every apprentice is personally supported in achieving their individual goals and aspirations.
“We ensure our approach is bespoke, taking into account the individual needs of each apprentice and valuing the skills they bring to the table, looking to help them grow these further in a tailored manner.
“While our approach has already inspired some like-minded businesses to launch similar programmes, we are striving to encourage other businesses to follow in our footsteps, and not just this National Apprenticeship Week.
“We have a collective responsibility to protect the future of our industry, and we look forward to being able to show more and more businesses how they can make a positive impact."
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