Apprentices are engineering a way forward

Apprentices are engineering a way forward

In 2020 we celebrate the centenary of our industry-leading apprenticeship scheme, one of the few schemes that can boast a continuous 100 year history providing skilled people to fulfil vital aerospace engineering roles.

Since the scheme began in 1920 more than 20,000 apprentices have joined the workforce and although much has changed in that time one thing remains the same, and that is our commitment to ensuring those who pass through our scheme receive training relevant to crucial industry requirements.

We remain committed to training the skilled workforce of the future and to ensuring the UK is at the forefront of industry.

In 2019 we invested more than £1 million on our apprenticeship scheme and more than double that on other training.

We currently have around 160 apprentices spread across four years who are generally between the ages of 16 and 20 years old and we’re proud to do our bit to curtail youth unemployment, and to help plug the skills gap.

This year we have worked around the challenges of the global pandemic and welcomed another cohort of nearly 30 apprentices, with virtual onboarding and social distancing, so that the scheme continues to provide vital training and support to eager new recruits.

It has been suggested that the UK will need nearly 2 million engineers and technicians by the middle of this decade. This creates a projected shortfall in aerospace and aviation of between 60,000 and 70,000 roles and provides a strong argument for redoubling efforts to attract young engineers into the workforce.

The aerospace engineering workforce has a demographic that is traditionally male, predominantly over 45, with ethnic minorities particularly underrepresented, and with fewer than 200,000 Higher Education students opting to study an engineering related course, there has never been a better time to support apprenticeships if the potential shortfall has any chance of being bridged.

Former Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere, gave an address to the Royal Aeronautical Society in June 2019, saying she was positive that the UK aerospace industry, the largest in Europe and third largest in the world, provides a ‘great spread of opportunities for engineers’ and offers ‘a level of long-term job security that few other industries can match’.

The events of this year, with the impact of Covid 19 on global aviation and employment as a whole, has undoubtedly affected these projections, but the fact remains that the aerospace industry will continue to need skilled engineers and young people will need jobs and robust engineering apprenticeships can provide both.