Apprenticeships have historically been at the heart of engineering skills. Around one in four of the sector’s workforce went through that route into work, and with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy this is a proportion that could well be set to increase in future. It’s a tried and tested way for employers to find and hone the talent they need, and it offers apprentices themselves the perfect grounding in an employer’s culture and ways of working, as well as ensuring they gain all the skills they need to become work-ready.
The evidence from the Industry Apprentice Council’s latest annual report certainly suggests that engineering apprentices are happy, with 98% of the 1,200 apprentices who responded to the group’s survey saying they felt they had made the right choice. Earning while learning, avoiding student debt and gaining practical, hands-on experience of work are among the top reasons given, but each apprentice has their own reasons and their own story to tell. We’ll be featuring a number of IAC members in our celebrations of this week, so keep an eye on Semta’s social media feeds.
This National Apprenticeship Week is doubly important, coming as it does in the Year of Engineering. We need a good proportion of the young people who are engaged with this year (with a million engagements the target) to be inspired to launch careers in engineering. We aren’t going to beat the skills shortage otherwise, with half of the sector’s current workforce also set to hit retirement age by the middle of next decade.
So I hope you will be getting involved in the fun this week. If you’re not already doing so, please do follow Semta’s various social media feeds – we’ll be sharing the best of the content we see, as well as the Industry Apprentice Council members’ blog pieces on their experiences and should also follow the IAC’s own social media feeds – and if you’re an apprentice, think about joining the group. After all, this may be National Apprenticeship Week – but being an engineering apprentice is a multi-year commitment. If you're an employer interested in finding our more about apprenticeships you could also join our Top 10 Apprenticeship Tips webinar tomorrow.