Manufacturing’s recent growth could be hampered if apprenticeship places remain vacant, warns West Midlands training provider.
This stark assessment has been made by Gareth Jones, joint managing director at In-Comm Training, who said his firm has over 100 positions – all attached to high value engineering jobs – that are available immediately. There is, however, an apparent a reluctance for people to come forward and take advantage of them.
According to Jones, this can be attributed to engineering and manufacturing suffering from negative perceptions in schools, plus a lack of understanding of the career opportunities an apprenticeship could offer.
“Companies are coming forward and saying they want to invest in apprentices…that challenge has been overcome to a certain degree. We now need to make sure that, as a country, we’ve got a pipeline of young people or more mature learners to fill them,” said Jones.
“At the moment we have 100 positions vacant at our Aldridge academy alone and these are for full/part-time trailblazer courses with a job at a local manufacturer at the end of it. This means you can learn from the best trainers, on the best equipment and get paid for it, with the option of going on to do a degree at the end – all without the associated debt that can go with it. This is a £100,000 opportunity.”
He continued: “There is still a perception that industry isn’t a great career to go into and, whilst we are changing that, we need to do more to paint a picture of what modern day manufacturing is like.
“It’s robotics, it’s CAD/CAM systems, it’s precision CNC machines, it’s playing a role in making sure F1 cars get faster, aeroplanes are lighter, people can walk again – all played out in bright factories and with great earning potential.
“That’s the message we need to get across and we need industry to open its doors and highlight the magic of what is made right here on our doorstep. Schools, colleges and universities need to join us in getting this message out there.
“Why doesn’t the education sector award CPD points for teachers keen to gain a better understanding of industry and how it works? Try something different.”
In-Comm operates three training academies in Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury (both under the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology banner) and at its original site in Aldridge.
Current vacancies range from apprenticeship places in machining and mechatronics to electro-technical, technical support, quality, product design, tool making, welding and manufacturing operatives.