Apprenticeships – a ladder of opportunity to a great career in engineering

Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for people to earn while they learn, gain vital work experience and set themselves on a fast-track to a successful career for life. Lasting between one and five years, apprenticeships are available in over 1,500 occupations across 170 industries.

Apprenticeships play a vital role in helping businesses in the engineering sector to grow and prosper. A great way for employers to improve the skills base of their businesses, apprenticeships offer a ladder of opportunity for people to gain the life changing skills they need and we know that more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their course ends. As Neil Weller, partner at Troup Bywaters + Anders (TB+A) explained: “We began with only three apprentices in 2008 and have built our intake from there. Apprenticeships are a more traditional way of implementing engineering training and senior leaders believe it is the right way to bring people on and build up their skills.”

In 2015/16, 78,480 apprenticeships were started in engineering and manufacturing technologies, up from 74,060 the previous year. Nationally, apprenticeship participation (all sectors) reached a record high of nearly 900,000 in 2015/16, with 625,000 individuals starting their apprenticeship since May 2015.

Apprenticeships are full time paid jobs with training and according to Department for Education research, a quarter of former apprentices (23%) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying.And with employers saying that former apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications, apprenticeships genuinely provide a stepping stone to a brighter future.

Alongside this job security come enhanced earnings and greater job satisfaction for employees.On average, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. While those completing a higher (degree level) apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.

For employers, the benefits of apprenticeships are well documented, with research finding that apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week. It’s no surprise that engineering businesses, such as TB + A, are taking advantage of the opportunity to grow their skills base, resulting in increased profits, lower prices and better products. Neil Weller from TB + A, explained: “By training and investing in our apprentices we have reduced our recruitment costs. Moreover, the whole dynamic of the business is youthful thanks to our apprentices and they invoke enthusiasm across the board as our older engineers enjoy mentoring and passing on their knowledge.” In 2014/15 there were more than 250,000 employer workplaces with an apprentice, ranging from small enterprises to multi-national and public sector organisations.

As apprenticeship numbers continue to grow, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) provides the ideal opportunity to celebrate apprentices and the positive impact they have on businesses, local communities and the wider economy.

This year, we are celebrating 10 years of National Apprenticeship Week and NAW 2017 will take place from 6th to 10th March, with employers and apprentices from across England coming together to demonstrate the many benefits that apprenticeships can bring. For ten years, National Apprenticeship Week has been showcasing how apprenticeships help people of all ages ‘get in and go far’ to gain the skills and knowledge they need for a rewarding career.

We want 2017 to be the best yet and are urging employers and apprentices from the engineering sector and beyond to find out how they can get involved and celebrate the ladder of opportunity provided by apprenticeships. Just a few of the many events taking place across the country during the week include the Bury College Electronic Engineering Taster Day and the Practical Skills for STEM Careers session. To find out about events happening near you this National Apprenticeship Week, visit our apprenticeship events map.