As with many companies in manufacturing, we have an ageing workforce. If we don’t create a pipeline for new, skilled workers, our factories will struggle to maintain their efficiencies. That’s why four years ago we developed a group apprenticeship programme.
For the first couple of years, the programme ran with each of our 19 factories working with a local college to deliver the apprenticeship. However, we realised that we needed to work with a national training provider to ensure all our apprentices received the same standard of training and essential practical skills.
After conducting a lot of research, we decided to go with EEF as our national training provider. There are a few reasons we went this route:
- EEF was one of the few national training providers with a residential programme where apprentices can stay in accommodations near the training facility. Our Apprentices can come from any of our factories across the UK, so a residential offer was key to our plans of training all our apprentices together. Having all our apprentices train together helps them build a support network of peers they can call on for problem solving and overcoming challenges in the future.
- We wanted to work with an organisation with the same values. We wanted an old-fashioned apprenticeship, one that’s about learning skills rather than just ticking boxes to get funding.
- A big challenge of setting up an apprenticeship is getting people to apply who have the right skill set. In addition to their training program and facility, EEF helps with the recruitment process.
In the past two years we’ve worked with EEF, we’ve found the training programme has produced very competent, qualified and safe apprentices. Along the way we’ve wanted various changes to be made to the training, EEF has always worked with us to customise the programme and make changes as needed. We want to get the training right, because our goal is to have our apprentices stay with our company.
Although setting up and running a good apprenticeship programme isn’t easy, if we’re going to position our company for future success, it’s a necessity.