Philip Chafer

Removing barriers in the way of apprentice schemes

My last blog - Where have all the Service Engineers Gone?- covered the lack of Service Engineers within the Medical and Scientific markets. The feedback I received backed this up particularly in the younger age categories, with a suggestion that apprenticeships combining workshop experience on the products and education together was the best way to get new engineers with the right skill-set into the industry.

This led to my colleague Jim's blog about the opportunities available across all divisions of engineering and highlighting the amount of young people not in education and employment who perhaps should be better guided into certain channels where there is a talent shortage.

“My last blog - Where have all the Service Engineers Gone?- covered the lack of Service Engineers within the Medical and Scientific markets. The feedback I received backed this up particularly in the younger age categories, with a suggestion that apprenticeships combining workshop experience on the products and education together was the best way to get new engineers with the right skill-set into the industry.“

With Manufacturing and Engineering as a whole enjoying an increase in the country due in particular to high profile companies expansion and the upcoming F1 engine/design changes (which will trickle down all the way to the pressing shops UK wide) there is more reason than ever for the young to be interested in entering Engineering.

So the big question now, how do we get the companies on board?

I am going to approach this from the other angle, perhaps the biggest problem facing companies is that taking on an apprentice is a long term plan, that would take years to come to fruition. The emphasis of Service Managers targets will often be based on more short term aims, conformance to SLA's and immediate staff levels.

Service Managers are undoubtedly busy enough with the day to day duties of organising holiday cover, sickness, escalated technical issues and more. The responsibility for this therefore will have to be shared across the company due to the strategic planning it would require. All involved would need to "buy into" this, from Director level through to Service Manager and most importantly the Service Engineers whose day to day responsibility it would be to show the young apprentice the ropes.

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