While the skills gap is nothing new on the radar, many people outside the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector would definitely be surprised at some of the latest stats. Having an inherent need for more and more people to take up engineering studies in order to sustain industry growth there is a deep concern for how this can be achieved within the current UK economy.
So how exactly do we introduce young people to the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector? A Birmingham based programme for 14-16-year-olds may have some key answers.
Adi Group, a large, multi-disciplined, privately owned engineering company launched, what would later become, the UK's first pre-apprenticeship programme in 2016. Since then the groundbreaking initiative has been successful in inspiring a generation of students that are proving more and more difficult to reach, especially since the demise of GCSE design and technology courses in nearly 50% of UK schools.
With the intention of combating this shortfall and inspiring and sparking an interest in tomorrow's engineers whilst they're in high school, the programme has gone from strength to strength.
The unique makeup of the Adi Ltd Pre-Apprenticeship Programme is definitely a key to its success. Each year, 12 students from nearby North Bromsgrove High School are selected via an application and interview process to start the 2 year accredited programme.
For Adi Ltd Founder and CEO, Alan Lusty, people and skills have always been central; there has always been a need to do what he can to equip people with the necessary skills they need in order to find quality employment. A need to give something back to the apprenticeship process that got him started in the sector.
"That starts with youngsters", says Alan. "Not everyone is cut out for university and not all of those thinking about career choices know how great engineering is. So, we try to inspire young minds and to open up new pathways into the profession.
In our Pre-Apprenticeship Programme, we have proof of a wonderful concept that benefits us all – as individuals, as employers, as a community and as a country. We believe that, if other companies copy what we have created, we can help bring about a sea change, not just in the engineering sphere but in a number of key economic sectors."
Alan Lusty's efforts to tackle the current skills deficit through the Adi Ltd Pre-Apprenticeship Programme have resulted in a unique EAL accredited engineering curriculum. This once completed, leads to the commencement of a fully-fledged apprenticeship scheme, should the student choose to do so.
Key subjects covered in Adi's Pre-Apprenticeship Programme include:
- Making components using hand tools.
- How to use and communicate technical information.
- Cutting, bending, forming and welding various metals.
- Assembling electrical and wiring control panels.
One huge benefit of the 'on the job' training style utilised in the programme, is that the students not only gain theory knowledge but also practical understanding. Learning and working in live workshops equips the students with key skills in engineering fundamentals such as welding, basic wiring, filing and reading technical drawings as well as an indispensable understanding of workshop health and safety.
Tomorrow's engineers are benefitting from the Adi Group's wealth of knowledge today. Pre-apprentices such as Alicia, whose father works for Jaguar Land Rover in nearby Solihull, are able to build on initial interest in engineering. "I think it's quite an inspirational and motivational thing and if girls ever get the opportunity they should go for it because it's not just a boy thing to do - there are girl engineers" says Alicia.
Read more about ADI and their Pre-Apprenticeship Programme along with the latest insights, analysis and solutions for advanced manufacturing and engineering in EAL and the Enginuity Group's RevEAL publication. Click here to download your copy.
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