As young people across the UK received their GCSE results, they face a choice about the next step in their educational and career journeys. For many years, the default for those wanting high level qualifications and training has been university instead of apprenticeships. However, those of us working in the engineering and manufacturing sector have seen a shift in the way apprenticeships are viewed.
Perhaps it’s the fact the average debt for students entering university this year will be over £50k by the time they graduate. Or the wide range of qualifications that can be achieved through an apprenticeship, including a foundation degree and NVQ Level 4. Maybe it’s the virtually guaranteed job at the end, with the most in-demand job these days being engineering, with a 1.8 million shortfall in candidates.
At EEF’s own Technology Hub in Aston, we’ve seen the number of apprentices training grow to over 400 each year. Far from outdated stereotypes that apprenticeships are a second choice to university, these incoming apprentices have a wide variety of backgrounds including those with top GCSE grades. What they all share is an aim to get their foot in the door at a top employer and earn while they learn.
To get a sense of the diversity and accomplishments of apprentices today, we have assembled a few profiles:
Left: HRH The Princesss Royal visits EEF's Technology Hub.
While perceptions are certainly changing, there are still those who hold onto outdated visions of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships. And sometimes it’s not the young people, but their parents who believe university is the only path to a great career options.
We find one of the best ways to expand the views of young people and their parents is a visit to our Technology Hub. With its sleek, clean look, accomplished and experienced tutors, modern equipment and technology and mix of classroom and hands-on learning, it quickly becomes clear that apprenticeships are an impressive way to begin a career.
Visit our apprenticeship vacancy page to find out more about the apprenticeships that top employers are advertising and the opportunities a career in engineering can bring.
Get on the ladder of opportunity with an apprenticeship!