Advanced manufacturing and engineering firms do, of course, have a well-earned reputation for taking on apprentices – 26% of the workforce in the sector has been through an apprenticeship, including many of its CEOs and chairmen of boards (including our own, Allan Cook CBE). An apprenticeship can be a route to the top, and having so many former apprentices running firms in the sector means that those firms continue to offer high-quality, rigorous, relevant apprenticeship programmes.
However, there aren’t many former apprentices in the Houses of Parliament, so there’s always a risk that the apprentice experience and voice will be lost when apprenticeships policy is being made. That’s why the Semta Group has been proud to support the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) a group of talented young apprentices who are making their voices heard in the corridors of power. That voice has been amplified by the publication of the group’s latest annual report; underpinned by a survey of over 1,500 apprentices, it concludes with a powerful Five Point Plan to further protect and enhance the quality and reputation of industry apprenticeships. You may also be interested to view the IAC Launch & 5 Point Plan Video.
With the average age of a UK engineer currently at 54, and with almost half sector’s workforce predicted to retire between 2012-22, it’s imperative that we can bring in talented young people to meet employers’ skills needs and maintain the sector’s reputation for innovation and excellence. By reading the report and by engaging with the IAC, policymakers and Parliamentarians can gain a real insight into what apprentices themselves think and want, and can then shape policy to ensure that apprenticeships are an attractive and valued route into work for young people.