UK Government Earmarks £30m To Boost Engineering Skills And Jobs

The UK government will invest £30 million in the country’s engineering sector, Matthew ATG_engineer_190614Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister, has just announced. The money will go towards increasing the supply of engineers, inspiring women to join the sector and eliminating skills shortages in small engineering businesses.

One third of the overall sum will be allocated to the “Developing Women Engineers” initiative. Another £10 million will be invested in “Improving Engineering Careers” and the remaining £10 million will be used to help small businesses to cultivate the talents they need.

Engineering skills are essential for the UK economy, in the words of Hancock. In order to stay competitive on a global level the UK will need a good supply of skilled engineers. The minister believes that by investing in the workforce and by encouraging women to join engineering, the industry will be able to unleash its full potential.

The initiatives are supported by more than 170 major organisations from business, education and the third sector. The investment is expected to create around 2,000 job opportunities. The aim is to ensure diversity in the workforce and attract additional talent for jobs related to science, technology, engineering and maths.

Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women, said she was pleased with the £10 million “Developing Women Engineers” project. Morgan thinks that beliefs about engineering being a man’s job belong in the past. Without women, the size of the talent pool available to engineering companies is drastically reduced, she said.

Skills shortages are a major problem that challenges many companies within the engineering sector, according to manufacturing organisation EEF’s chief executive Terry Scuoler. Companies are doing their best to develop their current and future employees and this investment will encourage them to adopt innovative solutions which will provide them with the skills and talents required, according to Scuoler.

 

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Apprenticeships And Skills: Employers Speak Out

Apprenticeships have proved to be major career boosters in highly specialised sectors ATG_engineering_290514such as engineering and aerospace. Many of the current senior managers at such firms started out as apprentices. The unique combination of hands-on work and theoretical knowledge proves to be extremely helpful for personal development and success, the Guardian writes citing BAE Systems education director Richard Hamer.

It is particularly difficult for manufacturing companies to secure the employees they need, Hamer notes. Therefore, an apprenticeship is the perfect way to nurture the talent you require from the very beginning, he adds.

Having realised the importance and positive outcomes of apprenticeships, companies are working together to set vocational training standards that reflect the specific needs of their industry. These sector groups, which have been called Trailblazers, are part of the apprenticeship system reforms the UK government introduced in 2013.

In addition to industry-specific skills, Trailblazers also place great importance on the basic skills employers say they badly need. These include English, maths, IT and verbal communication. Companies are very concerned with the lack of basic skills but acquiring them is much more effective in a working environment, according to Federation of Small Businesses policy director Mick Cherry. Vocational and academic know-how are equally important and it has become clear that apprenticeships can also lay the foundations for career success, Cherry points out.

More and more young people are opting for the vocational route if presented with the choice of a quality apprenticeship, according to PwC student recruitment chief Richard Irwin. Moreover, employers are coming to realise there is no longer any point in juxtaposing university and apprenticeships. It all boils down to the career path a young person wants to pursue, Irwin adds.

 

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How To Succeed In Your Apprenticeship Interview

Apprenticeships are steadily growing in popularity and number. School and college ATG_interview_270514leavers are keen on obtaining additional experience through practical work rather than academic study and making an early start on building their career.

The huge flow of candidates and the intense competition among them can make it difficult to grab the opportunity you want, especially when it comes to specialised industries like engineering. This means that apprenticeship candidates must invest a lot of effort in making a good impression at their interview by demonstrating both knowledge and motivation. Are you concerned that you have little experience when it comes to the process of recruitment? Apprentice Eye editor Rebecca Hoursley has put forward some useful tips on how to make an outstanding first impression when encountering the real business world.

Since you are likely to have limited or no work experience, it is essential that you present your transferable skills, Hoursley says. These might include attention to detail, time management, coordination of events or knowledge of certain software products. Some of these universal abilities can be particularly important to a specific job and their presentation is of key importance.

Another tip is to research the business and industry beforehand. Being acquainted with the company’s history and core business is essential and makes a good impression on interviewers. It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with specific business processes or company projects that interest you and might be part of your future job.

Furthermore, you need to be clear about the job specification and understand the role well. It is worth asking additional questions even before the interview so that your presentation is focused and related to the everyday tasks of the apprenticeship. It is also good to ask questions after the interview. Those might have to do with the potential for personal growth within the company, which would imply long-term interest and determination.

 

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Middle Ages To Modern Days: Apprenticeships Have Endured For Good Reason

Industries like engineering and IT have repeatedly raised the alarm on skill shortages, ATG_apprentice_200514which has further stoked efforts to revitalise the apprenticeship system. Given the attention they have received in the past few years, apprenticeships may appear to some people to be a modern invention but the truth is that they have been around since the Middle Ages. This goes to show that the importance of vocational training was acknowledged centuries ago and the practice has endured because of its benefits for both parties. The Daily Gazette has combed through the latest research results to compile a list of what makes apprenticeships so important.

From an employer’s perspective, there are several major benefits. According to 96% of companies with apprenticeship programmes, having trainees on the team boosts morale, improves retention rates and brings new ideas. Moreover, 72% of employers report that apprenticeships help increase productivity. For the UK economy as a whole, apprenticeship completions are expected to deliver productivity gains amounting to £3.4 billion within a decade.

But there would not be such a keen interest on the part of young people if apprenticeships did not benefit them as well. The most important advantage they get is employability: 86% of apprentices secure a job after completing their training, with 67% getting a permanent position at the company that has trained them. There is also the benefit of earning good money while learning the tricks of the trade: many employers pay their apprentices more than the required minimum (currently £2.68 an hour). And with more companies waking up to the importance of on-the-job training, young people can now embark on a career in virtually any sector: their choice encompasses over 250 different types of apprenticeships.

 

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Government Allocates Another £25m For Skills Training Support

Recognising the critical importance of skills development, the UK government is ATG_skills_080514providing an extra £25 million to help companies improve training, both for new and existing employees.

The additional funds were announced by Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock during his recent speech at a UK Commission for Employment and Skills Investment Showcase. The major winner this time is the automotive sector supply chain, which will get £20 million of the total. The remaining £5.2 million has been allocated to the latest group of successful bidders under the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP).

The money provided to the automotive sector supply chain will allow companies to invest more in training and thus ensure they have the skilled workforce to address their specific needs. Companies can apply for funding by submitting their proposals over the next 12 weeks.

Commenting on the fresh funds, Hancock said that the government was aiming to narrow the gap between employment and education so as to promote skills development. The new fund is a flexible solution designed to help companies in the automotive supply chain train people in the skills the sector requires. This is critical for capitalising on growth opportunities and paving the way for long-term growth in the sector, Hancock added.

The minister also highlighted the contribution of the EOP scheme, which is another effort to help UK companies develop their skill bases. The strength of this initiative lies in the deep involvement of employers: they supplement government funding with their own money and develop their own training programmes. In this way, employers are able to address the shortage of specialist sector skills and make the best use of their training funds, Hancock said.

 

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UK Engineering, Manufacturing Firms Increasingly Bet On Apprenticeships

The start of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 was marked by the release of severalATG_engineering_060314 research reports highlighting the importance of apprenticeships and their growing popularity among employers. One set of findings came from the UK manufacturers’ association EEF, which has found that local manufacturing and engineering companies are increasingly depending on apprentices to tackle the skills shortage problem, Automation magazine reports.

According to the EEF study, 60% of UK engineering and manufacturing firms have recruited an apprentice in the past year. In further good news, more than two-thirds plan to take on engineering and manufacturing apprentices in the 12 months ahead. With the majority (75%) typically bringing in trainees aged 16 to 18, it is apparent that apprenticeships have become critical for building the country’s future talent base.

Commenting on the findings, EEF apprentice and skills director Peter Winebloom said it was great to see that UK engineering and manufacturing firms are actively recruiting apprentices. It is even more encouraging that this practice is growing in popularity. The looming skills gap is a massive challenge for the sector and apprenticeships can help tackle that problem. Moreover, unless the UK has a sufficient supply of engineering and manufacturing talent it will not be able to realise its economic growth potential.

But apprenticeships are not just a means of injecting fresh blood into the sector, Winebloom added. We should not forget their importance for the young people who choose that road: for them, apprenticeships represent the launch pad to professional development and career growth, he pointed out.

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Threat To Engineering Talent Supply Calls For Greater Industry Efforts To Inspire Young People

The shrinking pool of UK engineering talent has been a common topic in mediaATG_young-engineer_180214 publications recently. As the economy and labour market improve, the shortage is set to become even more keenly felt. The recently published annual Confidence Index from specialist recruiter Matchtech highlights the need for a more concerted industry effort to make the engineering profession more attractive for young people. While apprenticeships are making a solid contribution to solving the problem, sector players feel that young people do not get sufficient encouragement to pursue an engineering career.

The survey conducted by Matchtech for its annual report showed that 76% of UK engineers believe the government is not doing enough to make the profession desirable for young people. It is also quite worrying to note that 63% see the UK losing its standing as a global engineering leader in the future. Moreover, 58% of UK engineers would consider relocating abroad, which does not bode well for the local talent pool, Matchtech managing director Keith Lewis pointed out in an article for E&T Magazine.

These figures clearly show the urgent need to act, Lewis commented. Apprenticeships offer a way out and they have had a very positive impact. According to research by the Industry Apprentice Council, 98.5% of apprentices are “overwhelmingly pleased” with their decision to pursue that route. Nevertheless, under 25% received encouragement from their school and this is one area where more work needs to be done.

Besides joining the effort to promote apprenticeships through schools, the UK engineering sector should capitalise on its successes to raise its profile among youngsters, Lewis said. Through highlighting the achievements of individual “industry heroes,” it can restore pride among their peers and provide inspiration for young Britons, he added.

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Nordson DAGE Apprentice displays exceptional potential

As the global demand for electronic products continues to grow, so to do opportunities

Pictured next to a Diamond X-Ray machine manufactured in Aylesbury:   Neil Pearce, Marc Innes, Ian Harper, Samantha Booth

Pictured next to a Diamond X-Ray machine manufactured in Aylesbury:
Neil Pearce, Marc Innes, Ian Harper, Samantha Booth

for Aylesbury-based firm Nordson DAGE, the market leading provider of award winning test and Inspection systems for destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing and inspection of electronic components. Nordson DAGE is a division of Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ: NDSN).
The Company has expanded its facilities in the UK to better serve its international blue-chip clients, who continue to demand the firm’s high technology products manufactured in Aylesbury and exported around the globe.
With a well developed Apprenticeship scheme, the company has been in a position to offer Apprenticeship places to local young people. Recently Marc Innes joined the organisation in a production capacity having been recognised as a young engineer with exceptional potential.
Marc recently finished his initial Apprenticeship training with ATG Training in Aylesbury in December, and having impressed his training officers, he won an award for his work. This was recognised with a presentation at the offices of Nordson DAGE when Chief Executive of ATG Training – Ian Harper, presented the award to Marc alongside his Production Team Leader – Neil Pearce and HR Generalist – Samantha Booth.
Marc is an ambitious young man and is already manufacturing products under supervision for blue chip international clients. He is already thinking ahead and is considering studying an HNC once the first year of his Apprenticeship training programme is complete.
“I strongly support the Apprenticeship programme here at Nordson DAGE.  The depth of engineering, technology, manufacturing and other experience will hopefully provide Marc with a solid platform for his career.”  Phil Vere, President of Nordson DAGE

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EngineeringUK Report Highlights Need For More Effort On Apprenticeship Front

Last year, EngineeringUK called on the industry, government and the wider scienceATG_engineering_300114 community to work together so that the country can ensure its future supply of engineering talent. As part of that drive, the organisation set specific goals to be achieved by 2020, among them doubling the number of young people under 19 doing Level 3 apprenticeships. EngineeringUK has now released a report detailing the progress made so far and it is clear that efforts need to be intensified in certain areas.

With regard to apprenticeships, the objective is to have 37,000 people aged under 19 doing Level 3 vocational qualifications by 2020. In particular, EngineeringUK has called for more youngsters to do advanced apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing technology, construction planning and ICT (information and communication technology). This is one of the areas where the State of Engineering 2014 report notes a failure to achieve progress so far. In 2011/2012 the number of under-19s doing an engineering-related Level 3 apprenticeship framework declined by 12.2% to 16,280.

On a more positive note, EngineeringUK points out that 250,000 youngsters completing Level 3 apprenticeships in those areas have achieved BTecs, NVQs, VRQs and QCFs. This is an encouraging fact because these vocational qualifications will be of great importance for building the future talent base of the UK engineering sector.

Part of the solution lies with ATG Training who since 1967 have been delivering high quality Engineering Apprenticeships in the Thames Valley. This makes the organisation well placed to serve the skills requirements of the industry with recruitment, staff training and development in key roles.

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Rolls Royce Launches Apprenticeship Programme 2014

With a host of Apprenticeships currently available in the Thames Valley, applications are sought for the roles available on www.atgapprenticeships.com.

An example of the interesting opportunities companies offer is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars who are looking for apprentices, with the successful applicants set to start in August 2014, the company announced this week.

The Apprenticeship Programme will select young people who will join forces with the company’s teams in various roles, including assembly, engineering, paint, wood and leather, Rolls-Royce said.

This will be the seventh consecutive year of the company’s Apprenticeship Programme. It is open to people aged between 16 and 24 and provides applicants with the chance to be trained at a leading engineering company and to experience luxury car manufacturing processes first-hand. The programme has been developed in collaboration with the Learning Skills Council and several colleges.

Those that are approved for the apprenticeship will go through a training scheme lasting up to four years, while at the same time studying for nationally recognised qualifications, the company explained. Recently the programme was extended to cover business areas, and the first business apprentices were selected this year.

The recruitment process has been designed to ensure that only the best applicants are chosen. Those that successfully complete the apprenticeship will be given the opportunity to stay with the company and continue to advance in their professional paths.

Young people who want to take part in Rolls-Royce’s Apprenticeship Programme can apply online on the company website.

 

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