Semta's Chief Executive Ann Watson shares her views on the latest news, policy, issues and events of interest to the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. 


Monday, 14 March 2016 00:00

Generation Great

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National Apprenticeship Week is with us once again and I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the national debate. My article in the Independent on Sunday supplement yesterday was a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on Apprenticeships within our sector and hold them up as rigorous and rewarding routes to career success. The engineering and advanced manufacturing sector has always led the way in Apprenticeship development and delivery and can, I believe, act as an exemplar of quality to other sectors.

I hope that the time will come – and in the not too distant future – when we can cease to have the parity of esteem conversation. But for the moment, it is important to keep pushing this message to young people, parents, teachers and other influencers. This is why I was gratified to hear the recent announcement from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan on introducing legislation to outlaw academic 'snobbery' and ensure pupils and students can make informed choices.

Without doubt there is huge opportunity for those that choose vocational pathways to work – especially an apprenticeship in engineering.

The scope of opportunity within the engineering sphere is limitless. Everything outside of nature has been engineered. Mankind has an enduring drive to improve and advance, which requires agile minds and technical expertise. With around 182,000 new engineers needed each year until 2022, job prospects within the sector remain strong. And salaries are pretty impressive by national standards too.

Our research shows that earning and learning with an apprenticeship makes a significant difference to an individual's career prospects and financial stability. Whilst many taking the academic route can be £90,000 in debt at the end of the process, qualified apprentices are buying cars, holidays and saving for house deposits. What's more, undertaking an Apprenticeship doesn't preclude the chance to gain a degree – how many young people are aware of this, I wonder?

That said, there is some fantastic work being done to change perceptions and focus minds. Let's take the Industry Apprentice Council for example. This group of passionate, committed apprentices is flying the flag for engineering Apprenticeships – garnering support at the highest levels and making their voice heard through speaker opportunities and media coverage. The recent IAC annual survey elicited responses from over 1,500 apprentices – further demonstrating the enthusiasm of apprentices to share their experiences. The findings will be shared in the coming weeks and I'm sure will make interesting reading. 

Read 2446 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 March 2016 17:05