Apprentices are on the right path to professional engineering

A new apprenticeships scheme, the first to give direct access to professional accreditation through a work-based route, has attracted hundreds of applicants.

The scheme has proved especially attractive to students from non-traditional backgrounds. In London, this September 80% of new recruits were from disadvantaged backgrounds and 67% from minority ethnic groups.

The apprenticeships scheme was initiated by TAC in 2010 and later partnered with the Academy to unlock and access pools of untapped engineering talent such as young women, people from minority ethnic and less advantaged backgrounds.

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering said:

“The UK needs more skilled engineers. The development and success of these apprenticeships will help meet increasing demand for qualified engineers by widening access to the profession while at the same time contributing to social mobility. Specific actions for employers seeking to increase their skills base are laid out in the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium’s report. It is also good to see very similar recommendations in the recent Manifesto for Change published by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in October, confirming that the consortium is heading in the right direction.”

Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) which administers the schemes, said: “It is clear to me that the optimism of ACE member companies, large and small, is tempered by a concern that they are finding it difficult and expensive to recruit and retain the highly skilled staff they need to deliver their projects. With an ageing workforce and a potential shortage of graduates the situation is only going to get worse. The sector as a whole urgently needs to find new ways to access and train the next generation of professional engineers. These new apprenticeships open up routes for a pool of talent previously harder to tap.”

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