This week Semta published its latest figures on new apprenticeships in the advanced
manufacturing and engineering sectors, revealing an increase of more than 85% over the past two years.
In 2009/2010 the number stood at 16,760 and it rose to 22,300 in the following year. It grew further over the course of 2011/2012 to reach 31,070. All areas in England have recorded substantial improvements in the number of apprenticeship starts, with West Midlands leading the way with a massive 227% increase. Other areas with particularly impressive results are the East Midlands, North East and Yorkshire & Humber with 174%, 133% and 109%, respectively. The majority of new apprenticeships have been intermediate level recruits, where the number of apprentices has jumped by 142%. New starts at the advanced and higher level have registered an increase of 23%.
Semta, the Skills Council for the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in the UK, and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) have joined forces with the aim of doubling advanced and higher level manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships by 2015/2016. Sarah Sillars, chief executive of Semta, described the latest figures as immensely encouraging and proof of the great work done by Semta and the NAS in their joint push to address a looming skills shortage.
However, she was quick to add that the partnership still had its work cut out and no effort must be spared to attract young people into the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Employers will need 82,000 new workers to replace staff retiring in the years through to 2016 and this creates great opportunities for young people. It is also essential to educate teachers and parents, making them understand the benefits that an engineering or manufacturing apprenticeship can deliver to youngsters, Sillars noted.
Stephen Smyth who is the Marketing Manager at ATG Training welcomed the new data which reflects the increase in engineering vacancies that the charitable training provider has helped employers fill recently. Recognising the challenge noted by Sarah, the issue faced by ATG Training is often matching the right candidate to the right role, in the right location. As many young people do not drive, this triumvirate is a challenge to meet at times.