Shame of firms that dodge training needs

An article in my local newspaper gave space to a company which had embraced the Modern Apprenticeship scheme. At last it has entered the real world. Every conscientious company recognises the need to invest in its own future – in fully-trained and multi-skilled engineering staff. That is the upside. The downside is that this company, […]

An article in my local newspaper gave space to a company which had embraced the Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

At last it has entered the real world. Every conscientious company recognises the need to invest in its own future – in fully-trained and multi-skilled engineering staff.

That is the upside. The downside is that this company, along with many others in the North East, has been very shortsighted and has effectively wasted two whole generations of training for skilled personnel. It had not employed any apprentices for 12 years. This appalled me.

Companies which have faced up to their moral obligations and trained apprentices see their efforts disappear `down the road’ to companies which – because of their savings of roughly £6,000-£8,000 a year per apprentice – are able to offer a few pounds more to effectively steal staff from other firms.

Poaching labour is a practice fast becoming the bane of every decent engineering employer in the North East.

A number of companies in the region are presently announcing to all and sundry that they are embracing apprenticeship training.

Where have these companies been over the past decade one wonders? Might I suggest, poaching staff?

The skills shortage will never be overcome unless all engineering employers address the issues that face them today.

Training issues have been well documented, with varying degrees of success. Government, the skill centres, the Training and Enterprise Councils, have all tinkered with engineering training, some with more success than others.

However, the bottom line is each and every engineering employer – and only the employers – can make a difference.

Only they can make lasting changes in the demand for skilled engineers and minimise short-term requirements while planning for the demands of the future.

{{Ron WaiteAltec EngineeringCo Durham}}