In the words of Albert Einstein; “tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” With skilled engineers in continual short supply, providing the next generation with vocational hands-on training is essential. Here, Stewart Goulding, managing director at mechatronic drive system supplier EMS Ltd, explains how apprenticeships are benefiting the engineering sector.
Despite over 700,000 people participating in an apprenticeship between 2018– 2019, the number of new apprenticeships being started has fallen over the past decade. However, with the skills gap growing, engineering companies must increase investment in future recruits. Apprenticeships offer the ideal opportunity to mould the future generation.
Develop bespoke talent
Engineering is a highly technical and diverse industry. Sourcing recruits that have the relevant qualifications and skills is difficult, and even then, many will require further training on specific equipment and procedures. In fact, according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), 60 per cent of engineering and technology employers believe the shortage of skilled recruits is a barrier to achieving business goals.
Apprenticeships can be designed with the company’s future needs in mind. Current and potential skill gaps in the company can be identified, allowing the development of specialised apprenticeship programmes. For example, Miguel Millan, an apprentice at EMS, began his training by scanning in technical drawings, but is now a design engineer working on his own projects.
Employees trained through specialised apprenticeships will be shaped into a perfect fit for the company — meaning the employer is not only investing in its people, but the business as a whole.
Improve employee retention
While sourcing talent can be hard, retaining it can be even harder. The shortage of skilled workers means employers are in fierce competition, and retaining talented individuals is a priority. With job hopping on the rise, employers must do more to keep staff interested. Apprenticeships go against the job changing trend, encouraging participants to consider their job as a long term career.
Investing time into fully training apprentices makes them feel a valued member of the company. In return, apprentices will be committed to the organisation and be highly motivated to help it meet its goals. The enthusiasm apprentices bring improves the morale of long standing employees, leading to an overall more motivated and satisfied workforce.
Engineering companies are facing many challenges, which must be considered in their long term business plan. The growing skills gap means employers must develop individuals who will be ready for the future of engineering. So, take note from Albert Einstein and involve the next generation in company apprenticeships, allowing them to learn and become valuable employees.