The world of UK manufacturing is filled with companies and individuals who operate with a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise. However, one major aspect which really puts manufacturing companies ahead is their consideration for their future workforce.
The Made In Annual Member Survey 2018 revealed that the biggest challenge which members feel they’re facing is recruiting and retaining employees. One of the main solutions to this is to approach the problem at its roots; by taking on apprentices and developing their skills from the very beginning, you are much more likely to end up with effective employees who are inclined to remain with your company for the long run.
Taking on apprentices also has wider implications. When a company fosters the development of young and new talent who are interested in working within manufacturing, both the local community and the wider industry benefit too.
Whether they’re on the shop floor getting their hands dirty, or learning marketing and IT skills, there’s never been a better time to take on an apprentice. The UK government is on-hand to help facilitate the process of signing up prospective talent, and the up-and-coming workforce is looking to be more diverse than ever before.
Let’s take a look at some of our members’ schemes and processes of training their apprentices, as well as the benefits they’re seeing along the way.
Whereas many companies limit their intake of apprentices to just a few positions, Brandauer currently boasts an impressive 10 apprentices in various roles. Though many of these are weighted within the technical sector, the company realises the importance of letting each apprentice work within the area in which their interests and skills lie.
This means they have people currently being trained in areas such as digital marketing and sales, to ensure that all areas of the business are being opened up and reinforced.
The process which Brandauer implements is interesting; they rotate their apprentices around the business, giving them insight into each sector of work and helping them decide where they might fit best. The apprentice will then end up working in their desired area, all the while being given the flexibility and guidance needed so that they develop the skills which will let them excel in their future careers.
Rowan Crozier, Managing Director at C Brandauer & Co Ltd, states: “We put a heavy emphasis on developing our talent for the future through our in-house training. Unfortunately, regardless of how good your training is, some apprentices will inevitably change their career route. Having so many apprentices ensures that we get the engineering talent needed.”
Lloyds are well known for their extensive support within many sectors of manufacturing in the UK. What you may not be aware of, however, is all of the great things they’re doing in terms of providing valuable opportunities to apprentices in a wide range of manufacturing industries.
A significant example of how Lloyds are supporting UK apprentices is through their £10 million sponsorship of the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry. Since the centre’s launch in 2014, almost 500 apprentices have been trained and supported with a practical, hands-on approach.
Mark Meakin, Local Relationship Manager and graduate of the University of Warwick and Warwick Manufacturing Group’s Manufacturing Awareness Training Program, described the MTC by stating:
“It’s very much a simulation of a factory floor. They’ve got state of the art machinery & equipment to work on, and they also link up to a lot of locally Coventry-based manufacturing and engineering businesses. They’re working in a safe environment with machines they can operate whilst learning various industry processes, before going out to local companies.”
Appris are a registered not-for-profit charity who specialise in helping manufacturing and engineering companies take on rising talent in the form of apprentices, who will then embark on a training scheme within a particular field.
Much like the Made In Group is dedicated to championing UK manufacturing, Appris Charity is dedicated to championing learning and training in the industry. They operate their own Engineering Training Centre Awards, recognising people for achievements such as Mechanical Learner of the Year.
The charity has recently made a significant addition to their Bradford facilities in the form of a new training centre. This centre will allow up to 78 students to receive training and education in a range of areas every day, and is being implemented in response to the rising number of advanced apprenticeships in the machining, maintenance and welding sectors.
Ultimately, Appris are the experts in providing apprenticeships in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. More and more, apprenticeships are becoming the go-to solution for companies looking to solve the issue of their skills gap, and as such it takes a comprehensive approach from a highly-experienced group to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.
Any Yorkshire-based companies looking to take on apprentices for the first time, or take their existing scheme to the next level, should get in touch with Appris.
As a truly inspiring example of how manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships are developing, Actionplas are working closely with Appris Charity to handle their apprenticeship scheme in the most effective way possible.
Ruth Gosnay, head of HR at Actionplas, describes Appris as being the perfect solution for any manufacturing or engineering company who are facing a skills gap of some kind. And, undoubtedly, this partnership is proving to be a fruitful one; the company’s current apprentice, whom they took on through Appris, was recently awarded Apprentice of the Year by their college.
“It’s extremely valuable to us,” states Ms. Gosnay. “These young people are able to access more opportunities than ever before thanks to Appris. We have a superb relationship with appris, they have been exceptional.”
Ms. Gosnay goes on to explain how more work needs to be done to make students aware that there are more routeways into work than just attending university. An example of this is how Ms. Gosnay will visit local schools and colleges, talking to students who are not so sure about university and pointing them in the direction of organisations like Appris:
“Another thing which works to our advantage is our local school presence. Appris will work with these schools and find the students who are interested in apprenticeships in engineering, and it’s companies like us who benefit.”
Actionplas are looking to take on another three apprentices soon, and firmly believe that any manufacturer interested in future-proofing should do the same.
However, some companies take a different approach to embracing apprenticeships. Gardner Denver are one such company; they keep their group of trainees small, so that they can focus more on each apprentice and ensure they get a true, representative experience of working with high-pressure air compressors.
Gardner Denver takes their apprentices right through the entire manufacturing process from start to finish. This means that not only will each apprentice spend time with experienced engineers, but they’ll also make the rounds through all other functioning sectors of the company, including after-market support, servicing and repairs, and working within their dedicated refurbishment centre. They’ll also gain valuable experience in working directly with customers.
Peter Satchwell, Sales Director at Gardner Denver Ltd, discusses how giving apprentices such a comprehensive experience allows them to really appreciate the inner-workings and nuances of the company, adding: “We see it as part of our obligation and responsibility to bring new talent through the high-pressure industry.”
Gardner Denver have also won an award for their apprenticeship scheme. Martyn Muddyman, Operations Managing Engineer at GD Ltd, was awarded the Mentor Award in the MGTS Apprentice Awards 2018 for going above and beyond in terms of fostering the interest of young people looking to take their first steps in the manufacturing industry.