Skills Company engineering apprentice Kian Ghanian from Swinton had the experience of a lifetime when he attended a Special Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons. The reception brought together Ministers, MPs, apprentices and the media to celebrate 9,000 apprenticeships being provided by the UK’s Aerospace, Defence Security and Space industries. Kian said: “ It was a great opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament and to meet all of those important people “
After leaving school, Kian started an A level course at college but soon realised that A levels weren’t for him. Kian said: “I just wasn’t enjoying them, I wanted something more practical, luckily my parents were with me all the way. They said I needed to enjoy what I was doing.”
Kian hadn’t really considered an Apprenticeship before as he wanted to get into Engineering and thought he needed a degree. He found out about The Skills Company online and soon found himself at the SkillCentre in Trafford Park doing an assessment to become an apprentice engineer.
With the help of Skills Company Business Adviser Phil Lawson, Kian started an engineering apprenticeship at Magnesium Elektron in Clifton. Magnesium Elektron make parts for aircraft and high end automotive vehicles and have some new and exciting developments in the health care sector. Kian’s now earning a wage as he develops his skills, and said: “The environment here is great, everyone’s friendly and helpful, it’s a great atmosphere to work in. The company has even said they’ll support me to go to university too. I’ve suggested to loads of people to do an Apprenticeship, you need to follow your heart. I really believe that Apprenticeships are for all!”
After leaving school Kian Ghanian, from Swinton started to do his A Levels at college but soon realised that they weren’t for him. “I just wasn’t enjoying them, I wanted something more practical, luckily my parents were with me all the way. They said I needed to enjoy what I was doing”
Kian hadn’t really considered an Apprenticeship before as he wanted to get into Engineering and thought he needed a degree. Kian found out about The Skills Company online and soon found himself at the SkillCentre in Trafford Park doing an assessment to become an Apprentice Engineer.
Now with the help from Business Adviser Phil Lawson, Kian is working at Magnesium Elektron. International company Magnesium Elektron based in Clifton work with Magnesium including parts for aircraft and high end automotive vehicles as well as some new and exciting developments in the HealthCare sector. Kian’s now earning a wage, learning the skills he said “the environment is great, everyone’s friendly and helpful it’s a great atmosphere to be in and they’ve even said they’ll support me to go to Uni too!”
“I’ve suggested to loads of people to do an Apprenticeship, you need to follow your heart. Apprenticeships are for all!”
Saeed studied at Wentworth High School and decided to continue his education with Trafford College. Currently Saeed is really enjoying studying his aeronautical engineering degree at the University of Salford and will soon be entering into his second year. He studied engineering at Trafford College and said that it was the stepping stone which allowed him to study his chosen degree at university. “Trafford College gave me great knowledge and understanding of the basics I needed for my degree, the hands on approach coupled with excellent theory practices was a big help. The third year project was something which especially prepared me for university life. My confidence improved while at college, the staff were friendly and helped put you at ease at times when the course got difficult. Saeed’ ambition is to get a job within this field, hopefully within the UK. However is willing to travel outside of the UK for a good job. Saeed told us he would recommend further education to family and friends and when asked what advice he would give to someone who is interested in further education he simply said “go for it!”
Andy Cox, Production Manager from Trinity Mirror has worked for the Hollinwood based company for more than 20 years and seen massive changes during that time as the business has gone from strength to strength.
One of Andy’s main concerns with the future is that he is now beginning to see that the majority of his skilled workforce will be looking to retire in the next 5 to 10 years and he needs to make sure that there is a new generation of engineers to replace them. Andy saw apprentices as an ideal way to fill this gap so he could mould a new team to their way of working allowing them to learn and be mentored by his experienced team.
In October Andy began his journey to prepare for this with two apprentices starting on his team on an Engineering Apprenticeship through The Skills Company. Andy’s apprentices, Nigel Rumvura from Salford and Jacob McGregor from Timperley had both always known that an Apprenticeship was the best route for them into becoming qualified engineers and with the role at Trinity Mirror this was more than they ever imagined.
Trinity Mirror Printing based in Hollinwood, Oldham prints more than 80,000 newspapers every day for distribution of more than 240 different local, regional and national newspapers across the UK, and Jacob and Nigel are at the heart of it in their roles maintaining the machinery. Jacob has said that: “The course is much better than I ever expected. It’s not at all like school, and they really treat you like an adult. When I’ve completed my Level 2 Engineering qualification, I’d like to go on to do my Level 3. When I left school, I was applying for all sorts of vacancies, but now I have job and a much clearer idea of where I’m going.” “Most of my friends are at college, and a lot of them aren’t really sure what they are going to do. I’ve told them about Apprenticeships, because I think you get more out of it, and you get paid while you’re learning.”
Nigel said: “The Apprenticeship is a good stepping stone to a career. Unlike school, you’re taught by experienced skilled people who can guide you on your way. I’ve gained a lot of confidence, and am now comfortable in speaking up so that my opinion is heard. Eventually I would like to be the Managing Director of an engineering company.” “When I left school, I was torn between college and an Apprenticeship, but none of my immediate family had done one. I’m sure I’ve made the right choice, and I’ve recommended the Apprenticeship route to a friend who is now on the same course that I did.” Andy is really happy with the progress he has seen Nigel and Jacob make and says they are valued members of his team. “I would definitely recommend any employer to start the conversations about what an Apprenticeship can do for them, they’re so different to how they once were. It’s great to see them grow and become skilled reliable members of the team.”
It has been announced that the National Minimum Wage for Apprenticeships will rise in October.
Currently the National Minimum Wage for Apprenticeships is set at £2.73 per hour, however in October this is due to rise to £3.30.
A Number 10 spokesperson said it was the “largest ever increase in the National Minimum Wage for apprentices and will halve the gap with the National Minimum Wage rate for 16 to 17-year-olds, that will be £3.87 an hour from October”.
The increase has been welcomed by The Skills Company as it really shows the value that apprentices bring to the workplace. Fiona Mellett, Managing Director of The Skills Company said: “This is excellent news for young people who want the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.
“This rise firmly puts Apprenticeships on the map as a viable progression route after school from the outset. Many employers are already paying much higher than this to get the best talent, which is especially important as the labour market tightens and employers have to work much harder to secure the talent to drive their business performance.”
The rise is much higher than the anticipated 2.6% rise of 7p an hour and can only be a good thing for young people considering their options.
Over 100 young people from Greater Manchester schools attended an event aimed at increasing the diversity of young people undertaking Apprenticeships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) occupations, in particular girls, black and minority ethnic pupils and disadvantaged groups.
At the Creating Your Future event, held in National Apprenticeship Week at Manchester Central Convention Centre, role models who are working in STEM related jobs engaged with the pupils who were aged 13-18 to give them an insight into the many and varied jobs available to them and encourage them to consider a STEM career.
The role models, who had come into the industry through the Apprenticeship route came from many companies, including Tyco Fire Protection Products, Siemens, M&I Materials, Magnesium Elektron and Amec.
The session was also open to parents and teachers and as well as promoting the opportunities available in STEM occupations, it aimed to challenge negative perceptions of the industry. The event was organised by Engineering Futures in collaboration with WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) and TAC (Technician Apprenticeship Consortium).
Daniel Robinson, Engineering Futures Manager said: “Research has shown that positive role models are the most effective way of breaking down the stereotypes and myths that young people, parents and teachers have about careers in this sector, and in supporting them to consider this career option positively.”
“The event was a great success in opening the eyes of many of those young people attending to the exciting prospects that STEM careers can offer. The role models were able to relate their own personal experience to the pupils and answer their questions about barriers and opportunities.”
Mark Lawrenson from Stockport Technical School commented: “This was a very well organised and informative event, which ignited students’ imaginations and understanding, giving them the knowledge and confidence to increase participation in engineering and advanced manufacturing that is vital to the future economy, on both a local and national level.”
By Dame Prof Ann Dowling
“I was lucky. My father was an engineer – a major in the Royal Engineers.
“My parents encouraged my curiosity about the world around me and understood why I couldn’t resist dismantling things from an early age.
“They gave me a chemistry set one year, a magnetism kit the next.
“I have always been interested in how things work.
“Like many people I was inspired by a great teacher – in my case a super science teacher when I was 10.
“He used to bring everyday gadgets to our lessons and explain the physics of how they worked.
“I went on to study maths and then moved into engineering to work on noise reduction – my PhD project was on reducing the noise levels of Concorde.
“I have enjoyed a wonderful career in engineering, at the University of Cambridge, working with some of the brightest people in the country on projects ranging from silent aircraft to low-emission power plants.
“Young children are, as I was, natural engineers, constantly seeking to understand the properties of materials as they engage with the world around them.
“When the cardboard structure they have built is strong enough to support the weight of other toys and becomes a medieval castle, there is the thrill of persistent and successful improvement.”
According to new research by professional services firm EY, graduate recruitment specialists GTI Media, and the Association of Graduate Careers Services (AGCAS), parents are having a significant influence on all aspects of their children’s future careers, but aren’t aware of the alternatives to university.
The survey of 3,383 university students and 807 parents looked at how students were influenced by their parents around their choice of university, degree course and future careers.
Of the parents surveyed, 70% said they encouraged their children to go to university and of those, 43% felt that a degree would improve their children’s long term career prospects more than an apprenticeship, school-leaver programme or by joining the job market after college or sixth form. Only 27% of students surveyed said their parents had discussed alternatives to university with them.
A new study carried out by Nestlé UK & Ireland has found that not enough is being done to encourage young people into STEM related careers, despite enthusiasm around the subjects remaining high.
According to the study, almost four out of five 14 to 16-year-olds would consider a career in a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related industry, but over half of those surveyed admitted that they knew very little about the type of jobs on offer. STEM teachers also admitted that they didn’t know much about careers within the industry.
Additionally, 62% of UK businesses feel that Britain is facing a worrying skills gap in the industry and 67% said there had been little improvement in the situation over the past five years, with over a third saying the situation had worsened.
Fiona Kendrick, CEO of Nestlé UK & Ireland said: “It is a promising sign that so many young people in the UK are considering pursuing STEM subjects in higher education and as a career. However, there is evidently a breakdown that needs to be addressed, as while young people are interested in STEM subjects at schools, the uptake of careers in these areas is low – with many saying they don’t know enough about the careers that are available. It is essential that businesses play their part and I am delighted to see that more and more companies are engaging with schools and colleges to help highlight the vast and diverse number of rewarding careers on offer.”
With this year’s school leavers having just received their GCSE results, a new research report has revealed that many parents don’t understand the range of career options available to their sons and daughters
The survey, carried out by City and Guilds found that almost half of parents (49%) didn’t fully understand the alternatives available to their children, leaving over a third (34%) feeling ill-equipped to give their children advice about career paths. 49% of the parents surveyed felt that university was the best option, despite the fact that only 17% of them had a degree themselves, and almost a third (31%) had left school at 16.
Fiona Mellett, Managing Director of Greater Manchester’s largest Apprenticeship training provider Skills Solutions said: “The education and training environment has changed massively since these parents took their exams, and it’s quite worrying that they feel unequipped to help their children make the right choices. There is a clear bias towards A levels and university, and although that’s a valid choice for many, it’s no longer the whole picture. Parents really need to understand the bigger picture to do the best for their sons and daughters.
“More and more young people are recognising the benefit of a vocational route into their chosen career, and that it isn’t a second class option. They are earning while getting qualified, and they are not building up debts that will take years to clear. Apprenticeships are now available in a huge range of occupations, including professional disciplines such as Accounting, Management and HR.
“Young people can start an Apprenticeship at the appropriate level, after GCSEs or A levels, and the opportunities for progression are huge. 40% of the graduates from our Higher Education programmes have progressed from Apprenticeships.
“And employers also recognise the value of vocational training. Another City and Guilds survey reported last year that almost half (44.1%) of the previous year’s university graduates were predicted to be unemployed or underemployed six months after leaving education, compared with only 4.5% of those with at least a Level 4 Apprenticeship.”