Andy is a Design Engineer at Sitec - he's part of the training management team for apprentices and graduates
It's going well so far! We’re just into our fourth year of recruiting apprentices and we’ve had good results.
Apprentices are very eager and keen to learn. They learn a lot from being taught at the college where they get more hands on experience. They can then bring this back into the office and have a good overall grasp of the work.
The apprentices are pretty much classed as junior engineers after completing, thanks to the college work and the experience in the office. Once they start doing four days a week with us after their first year at college, then their progression really starts to ramp up and they pick things up very quickly.
It varies really. When we first get them in I like to sit with them and explain what the main role will be and get them through the CAD packages. We try and split it between self-learning from the information we provide them, so we don’t give them all the answers. We encourage them to come and ask us or anyone else in the office to get the communication process started – which is a big skill in the office.
We worked with the college at a recruitment evening where we handed out flyers and information. Applicants apply online and once the information comes through we look at what they are interested in and how they’d fit within the company. The college does an initial assessment for us which is the first step in the process. After we've made a shortlist, we hold brief half-hour interviews and go from there.
So far we have only had one lot of apprentices come through and we offered both of them a full-time job. They will also be continuing with their education with us, that’s 100% so far.
Does the qualification they do focus on your company or is it more general?
It is more general, however all the modules they do are engineering and other skills that are useful to have.
Do it. You need to give young people the chance to get the experience in the workplace. Make sure you have the time for them, a good training plan and it will pay off. They are very good and you can mould them to what your company needs.
Do you think Apprentices fill skills gaps in your industry?
I believe it would yes.
Does the college offer any additional support to your Apprentices?
They have an assessor that comes out and checks through their work. Usually every 6 weeks they meet with me to check on their progress.