EM3, the region’s leading business-led strategic economic partnership organisation, discussed the barriers to apprenticeships at their first Careers Hub Steering Group meeting recently.
The event, which included delegates from a range of businesses and organisations across Hampshire, featured a workshop look at how employers could work to provide more opportunities to young people, improving access to training and promoting non-University centric career paths.
During the meeting, delegates heard from Alan Hay, who is an apprentice at Middlesex Aerospace. Alan joined the aviation and aerospace component manufacturer five years ago, after learning about the company at an apprenticeship fair held at Basingstoke College of Technology.
Alan, who is a New Product Introduction and special projects engineer, spoke of his positive experience as an apprentice, where he could earn while he learned in a very supportive environment. But he said: “It was completely potluck that I found out about Middlesex Aerospace.”
In fact, it was all down to his mother encouraging Alan to attend the apprenticeship fair. “The awareness of apprenticeships at school wasn’t very good,” explained Alan. “My teachers had told me I should go to college and study engineering, but they didn’t actually tell me about apprenticeships. It was seeing Middlesex Aerospace at the fair that made me think engineering was something I was interested in as a career.”
It was while studying at BCoT that Alan became much more aware of apprenticeships, in part thanks to going on work experience and meeting different businesses at apprenticeship evenings.
Alan’s manager Michael Clarkson was full of praise for Alan and keen to promote apprenticeships as an excellent way of bringing both new talent to a business and upskilling young people.
While some businesses view apprenticeships as an added cost, Michael said Alan was a great example of how apprentices can instead save money through giving them a chance to use their skills and abilities.
In Alan’s case, Middlesex Aerospace tasked him to research and source equipment to replace a manual process of measuring the quality of components. “As parts are being machined, they are now being checked at the same time. This improves production flow without compromising quality. As a result, our ability to meet even shorter deadlines increases capacity for more customers,” said Michael.
“Alan’s very clever and is a real asset. Now he’s head of two machines worth £500,000 which is great. He’s shown his capabilities and he’s got the knowledge. He’s very interested in engineering and has the ability to focus on getting the job done within time scales.”
Suzanne Dixon, said: “The event gave businesses, training providers and the Enterprise M3 Careers Hub team the opportunity to discuss barriers to apprenticeship and technical education take up.”
“Findings from the session will be shared with the Careers and Enterprise Company and the Department of Education.”
Ou thanks to Suzanne for facilitating this invaluable meeting and we look forward to working with EM3 to advance the positive benefits of apprenticeships in the future.