Colston Engineering commits to The 5% Club pledge

Colston Engineering, a fully integrated engineering subcontractor offering a wide range of services has joined The 5% Club. Chippenham based Colston is privately owned and has been a contractor to the Ministry of Defence for over 40 years and has progressively developed a broad industrial customer base.


Colston The 5% ClubWith a highly skilled and motivated workforce and comprehensive precision machining, fabrication, electrical assembly, project management, design, product development and product manufacturing skills and expertise Colston offer young people valuable earn and learn experiences, making them a great candidate to join the campaign. Along with the other 70+ members, Colston have committed 5% of their workforce to be apprentices or graduates within a 5 year time frame.

As both Darren Hearn, Production Supervisor at Colston and Managing Director Matthew Heaton started their careers as apprentices, offering valuable opportunities to young people is at the core of Colston’s business.

Darren Hearn was employed by Colston Engineering as an apprentice back in 1990 after studying his trade at college. With 25 years under his belt with the company and in his role as production supervisor, he has been the driving force in employing apprentices.

Darren said, “In the 25 years that I have been employed at Colston Engineering Services, it has become more apparent that there is a huge skills gaps in the engineering sector, particular when it comes to welding and sheet metal skills.”

Managing Director Matthew Heaton joined Colston in 2013 and understands only too well, the benefits of apprenticeships.

“I myself completed an apprenticeship while studying at university and I firmly believe that they are the most cost effective way for businesses to develop their own talent and to ensure the sustainability of their workforce.”

It’s not just businesses that benefit from apprenticeships; 19 year old welding and fabrication apprentice Toran Howlett, one of two apprentices that Colston Engineering Services took on last September said:

“I completed a Level 3 Performing Engineering Operations course at Wiltshire College and wasn’t sure what to do next. I knew I wanted to work, so I spoke to my tutor who advised me that an apprenticeship would work well for me, giving me the experience I needed as well as the opportunity to build on the skills that I had gained while on my engineering course.”

Fellow apprentice Tom O’Brien who was also employed at Colston Engineering Services last September said:


“After finishing my engineering course, I started doing part time jobs that were totally unrelated to engineering, just to get some money coming in. But I knew that this wasn’t really getting me anywhere, and the idea of an apprenticeship seemed the best way to build on my engineering skills and earn some money.”

Tom continued: “The other thing that sold the apprenticeship to me was the job security; I wanted to be able to use the skills that I had already learned and put them to good use, rather than ending up in a basic job in some factory somewhere. This way, I will continue my apprenticeship over the next four years and I’m guaranteed a job at the end of it.”

To find out more about Colston Engineering and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website:

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

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DSTL & The 5% Club


In the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Ministry of Defence is busting the myths about apprenticeships and The 5% Club are delighted to announce that they continue to do so as one of our newest members.

Supplying sensitive, specialist services to the MoD and wider government, DSTL also provides a leading science and technology programme that acts as a trusted interface between the MoD, private sector and academia to provide support to military operations by the UK and her allies.

As part of their support, DSTL champion and develop science and technology skills across the MoD, including through apprentices.

What is so key about the programmes provided is their emphasis on breaking the mold, innovating through diversity in their people as well as their projects. Their apprentices epitomize this, debunking myths from who can undertake an apprenticeship to questions of career progression.

Quinteq-Dstl Engineering Apprentice GraduationAn example can be found in 36 year-old DSTL engineering apprentice Jamie Moore, who previously worked in construction but felt that he wasn’t getting the most out of his ability. He wanted to do something much more challenging and fulfilling.

Retraining as a mechanical engineer, he believes ‘you are never too old to learn’, saying:

“I have always had an interest in how things work and the science behind how things work and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is at the forefront of up to date training and education in this field amongst many others.

I have been heavily involved in some interesting projects, from the design and planning and manufacture right through to completion and handover.”

Now a proud civil servant, he did not let his age stop him from being ambitious and instead thrives in an environment where he can continue to learn in the workplace.

Similarly, being a woman never stopped his fellow apprentice, Bethan Warner, from achieving her own dream of joining the programme as an engineer.

For Bethan, the combination of practical hands-on work and classroom-based theory was perfect, she knew university was not the course for her especially having seen her own family find success after apprenticing.

Actively disabusing the assumption that STEM subjects and programmes like her own are not for girls, Bethan now attends many STEM events in schools and careers fairs. She says, “The majority of children visiting our engineering stalls are boys but I will continue to inspire the younger generation to think about apprenticeships, while confirming that women can do engineering.

On a daily basis, I haven’t had any problems with being a woman in the engineering industry. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown in confidence since having the responsibility of an apprenticeship or maybe it’s because the people I work with realise that I’m no different to my male colleagues.

Man or woman, apprenticeships are the best start for rewarding careers – I really believe they are the way to go.”

This is a sentiment shared with Emma Treadwell, who completed her programme and has become an Item Manager for DSTL after receiving her graduation certificate from DSTL Chief Executive Jonathan Lyle.Apprentice Graduation

The fact that towards the end of her apprenticeship she was being trained for a role involving organising jobs from all across the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and managing the design and making of varied parts, meant she was ready to kickstart her career from the outset of her full-time position.

She felt ready. “Coming from a hands on apprenticeship to my current role allows me to understand the true engineering behind different products, thus allowing me to give much more technical guidance to my customers and those manufacturing the parts.”

To find out more about the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website:

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

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Renishaw and The 5% Club


Precision engineer Renishaw specialises in optimizing operational performance, but not just of machines. Their dedication to augmenting the capabilities of the young people that join them as apprentices and graduates has been central to their ethos since the outset of The 5% Club.

As a FTSE 250 group, Renishaw makes high-precision measurement and motion-control instruments, is built on innovation and efficiency, and produce products used for diverse applications from medical diagnostics to machine tool automation. The people that join them are just as diverse, precise and skilled.

The fact that one of their project managers, Lucy Ackland, has been awarded the RENISHAWWomen’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize 2014 at the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year ceremony only proves their dedication.

Lucy Ackland, who now works on Renishaw’s next generation metal 3D printing machine, joined their team at age sixteen. She began by undertaking a year’s offsite training where she completed a number of NVQs and started a national certificate in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, she then worked in the machine shop in her second year, moving on to complete a foundation degree in mechatronic engineering. Now twenty-seven, she has completed a first-class engineering honours degree, created and run a team of process development engineers responsible for the design, development and manufacture of test rigs, and spent a huge amount of time encouraging young people into engineering.

Encouraging young people to consider engineering as a degree is central to her award, which is given each year to a young female engineer who is able to engage and inspire young people’s involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

To do this, Lucy became STEM ambassador, ran technology teardowns, set and organised activities with local schools, gave talks, ran seminars, helped with after school engineering clubs, judged and moderated STEM club projects and volunteered with Young Engineers.

Her incredible work deserves the recognition received and honoured by the WES Prize in 2014.

Lucy said: “I’m so happy to have won this award – it means a lot to be recognised for the work I do in a really exciting, upcoming industry. I’m pleased to be considered a role model for future generations of female engineers because I believe engineering is a really enjoyable career choice but sometimes people are put off by misleading stereotypes.”

Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a very significant problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy. The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half of its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry. It also means that women are losing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities.”

She continued: “The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of things: from the careers advice girls are given in schools, to schools not instilling girls with the confidence to opt for science and maths at A-level, through to employers needing to do more to make their approach to recruitment and retention more female friendly. But it’s also a result of the lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls – which is where our Young Woman Engineer of the Year winners can play a vital role.”

RENISHAW The 5% ClubDawn Bonfield, WES President, said: “The Women’s Engineering Society is delighted that this award goes to Lucy Ackland, who has already done an enormous amount to engage and inspire the next generation of female engineers. We are looking forward to working with Lucy this year to do even more for young people, and crucially their parents, in changing stereotypes of the engineering sector and especially of the apprenticeship route into engineering. Congratulations Lucy.”

Chris Pockett, Renishaw’s Head of Communications, said: “We are very proud of what Lucy has already achieved during her engineering career with Renishaw and her tireless work, often in her own time, to promote STEM-based careers to young people. The WES Prize is fantastic national recognition of this work and we know that she will continue to be a great ambassador for the engineering sector over the coming years.”

With people like Lucy leading the way, companies like Renishaw become stronger. It is the wonderful mixture of dedication on the part of the apprentice and power of the apprenticeship that truly emphasises why The 5% Club exists: to invest in the future of Britain.

To find out more about Renishaw and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website:

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

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Balfour Beatty supporting its supply chain in joining The 5% Club


Balfour Beatty has today announced that one of its key supply chain partners, A-Plant, has joined The 5% Club. A-Plant is Balfour Beatty’s first supply chain partner to do so.

Balfour Beatty recently announced the launch of a dedicated support package for its supply chain partners, in partnership with industry training body the CITB, to support and encourage membership of The 5% Club.

The package includes providing advice  on how to take up the Shared Apprenticeship scheme, administered by the CITB, (which enables employers to take on apprentices for short periods if they are unable to offer a long term placement), linking its partners to sources of funding provided by the government and dedicated support through its supply chain portal.

Through its dedicated support, Balfour Beatty is looking to encourage at least fifty of its key supply chain partners to become members of The 5% Club each year.

A-Plant is one of Balfour Beatty’s largest suppliers of construction equipment and employs 2,600 people, with around 4% of their workforce currently in an apprenticeship or a formal graduate or sponsored student scheme.

A-Plant’s Head of Training Bob Harper, said: “Apprentices are the vital next generation of A-Plant and they enable us to gear our business up for the future, whilst providing employment and progression opportunities for young people across the country. Like Balfour Beatty, our investment in apprenticeships has never been higher and therefore we’re delighted to be announcing our commitment to The 5% Club.”

BALFOUR BEATTYDr Sam Healy, Programme Director for The 5% Club, said: “More and more companies are seeing the benefit of providing apprentices and graduate placements. Not only are earn and learn opportunities fantastic for setting young people up for the future, but they are vital for business growth and for strengthening the UK’s economy. We are delighted that Balfour Beatty is actively encouraging its supply chain partners to join The 5% Club as it really shows how businesses can work collectively to tackle youth unemployment and the UK’s skills shortage.”

Martin Chown, Supply Chain and Procurement Director at Balfour Beatty, said: “Some companies don’t think they have the size or scale to commit to employing apprentices but we need to use our experience to show them that there are really great opportunities here with help from the government and other bodies. Through closely working with the CITB we are aiming to encourage more businesses like A-Plant to commit to joining The 5% Club, helping them secure their own futures and that of the next generation.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy and Strategic Planning from the CITB, said: “I’m delighted that Balfour Beatty is supporting its supply chain to join The 5% Club because it sends such a strong signal to smaller contractors who often feel that the time and cost involved is a barrier to taking on apprentices. If we are to develop the skills to deliver the strong growth forecast over the next five years, is it vital that we  work together to help smaller businesses to overcome these perceptions and benefit from  the boost that apprenticeships can deliver to their businesses.”

Balfour Beatty, one of the early members of The 5% Club, launched 150 new apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week earlier this month, and announced its partnership with 12 universities to deliver new Trailblazer Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, through which it is taking on an additional 35 apprentices from September.

Balfour Beatty currently has 375 apprentices, 184 graduates and 17 students taking part in college courses, representing just over 3% of its 17,000 strong workforce.

To find out more about Balfour Beatty and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website:

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

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The war for talent: Who’s winning?

Yesterday, Dr Sam Healy, Programme Director of The 5% Club attended and spoke at the CBI’s ‘War for talent: Who’s winning?’ event at Kings College, London.

sam healyThe 5% ClubSam spoke about businesses’ role in youth unemployment and how it’s so important for businesses to engage with colleges, schools and universities to acquire talented employees.

The CBI, who are a member of The 5% Club, chaired the panel and were joined by other 5% club members, Renishaw and KPMG.

Peter Bowler, Head of Group Human Resources at Renishaw spoke about the importance of developing engineer’s skills set and how mobility is so important in sourcing good talent.

Colm Coffey, HR Director at KPMG gave insight into the company’s experience of social media in recruiting young people.

We also heard from John Greatrex, Group HR Director at Unipart, Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Principal of Education at King’s College London and Matthew Wragg, Marketing and Sales Director at Matchtech Group plc.

Sam shared insight into the benefits of joining The 5% Club, how it is a network of businesses that share talent recruitment challenges within the 16- 25 age bracket and how solutions can be sourced from peer learning.

We look forward to the next CBI event and potentially hearing from other companies keen to join the campaign.

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing

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National Apprenticeship Week and AWE

National Apprenticeship week is upon us and we’ve had a busy week celebrating the power of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

The event is part of the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

photo 3We kicked off the week on CNBC’s Closing Bell show on Monday with 5% club member Charlie Mullins from Pimlico Plumbers speaking about the importance of apprenticeships. We will also be making a very exciting announcement tomorrow so stay tuned.

Our members have also been busy celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. As a company with a long tradition of running a successful apprenticeship scheme, AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) are very pleased to share their attitudes towards and experiences of apprenticeships, one of the most integral parts of the organisation.

AWE has had been running one of the country’s most successful apprenticeship schemes
for over 60 years. Currently, 11% of its workforce is made up of former apprentices, many of whom have enjoyed long and rewarding careers at the company.Picture 4- Skills Academy Circa 1950

Rob Cottrell, AWE’s Skills Academy Manager, said: “Apprenticeships allow AWE to grow its own talent pool by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and many of our former apprentices have worked their way up through the company to senior leadership positions.”

Geoff Druce, Higher Activity Waste Programme Manager, joined AWE as an apprentice in August 1979. He said: “This is a great place to work. I’ve had brilliant career opportunities which have been varied and wide ranging, including collaborating both nationally and internationally with our nuclear counterparts. I’ve been supported to achieve many goals throughout my 35 plus years with AWE, including appointment into leadership positions and chartership with the Society Radiological Protection. I would continue to recommend AWE to anyone considering an apprenticeship today.”

Kerry Barker, Senior Engineer, joined AWE’s apprenticeship programme in 1985. She said: “I have really enjoyed my career with AWE and can’t think of another organisation where I would have had such a variety of opportunities. I have always been supported to achieve and to fulfil my potential. I now hold a very responsible leadership position in the company, managing both people and programmes, and I’m delighted with the decision I made to come to AWE all those years ago.”

Dani Smithers (16), joined AWE in August 2014. She said: “I chose the apprenticeship route at AWE as I liked the idea of getting hands-on industry training and gaining qualifications at the same time. I’ve been interested in engineering since school Picture 3 - Precision Machinist Apprentice_Daniel Hornblow_2015and knew that AWE was really supportive of women entering the industry. The best thing about my apprenticeship is learning new skills in a practical environment. You are constantly challenged, and have to take responsibility for your own work. I’m loving my apprenticeship – it is much better than I ever expected and I’m so glad I chose this route. The responsibility I am given and the sense of pride I get from working here is great.”

Matt Grimston (17),also joined AWE in August 2014. He said: “I’ve always been interested in electronics and the AWE apprenticeship scheme really appealed to me.

I love the variety of the role and learning lots of new skills. I think the best thing about being an apprentice at AWE is the hands-on work, the challenge of learning so many new things and making new friends. They really look after you at AWE – it feels like they are setting you up for a great career. They are very focused on supporting you to be the best you can – it’s a very positive environment to work in. I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship route. You get real-life hands-on work experience, formal qualifications and you are paid at the same time. It really has been the best decision I could have made.”

AWE is an active supporter of female participation in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and last year was delighted to welcome its largest intake of female apprentices ever with the total number increasing from 5% to 15% in 2014.

Samantha McRae, a fourth year Mechanical Apprentice was invited to attend a reception hosted by Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, during National Apprenticeship Week 2014 in appreciation of the fantastic contribution apprentices are making to our society and has more recently been recognised at the 2014 WISE Awards. Samantha said: “I decided to apply for the AWE apprenticeship scheme because I wanted something that was hands-on. I wanted a job with a great career path and knew people that worked at AWE and said it was great. It ticked all the boxes for me. Nearly four years on, I couldn’t be happier.”

Rob Cottrell continued “In 2015, AWE has never been more committed to providing opportunities for young people and supporting them to achieve their potential. We recognise the need to develop a skilled and diverse workforce to deliver our demanding technical programme and meet our future business needs. In early 2014, AWE were proud to be early adopters of the 5% Club and we look forward to continuing to inspire the great minds of the future with 45 new apprentices who will join our business later this year.”

New apprentices with Dr Jupp

To find out more about AWE and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website:

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well!

Barrhead Travel bring some holiday sun to The 5% Club

Barrhead Travel

We are pleased to announce that Barrhead Travel, the travel agency group, are now a member of The 5% Club. The Barrhead Travel Group has grown from a single high street shop to a travel giant with 850 employees across 56 UK outlets, including travel agency stores, Business Travel offices and contact centres.

As a socially-responsible organisation, Barrhead Travel are committed to giving something back to the communities in which they operate, with opportunities for young people being at the forefront of their company ethics.

Barrhead Travel run a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) series, whereby they share success stories of young people who are working towards an apprenticeship at Barrhead Travel.

As part of these series, Nicole Mundie, who works at the Barrhead Aberdeen branch shared her story.

“I’ve always wanted to work in travel so the Modern Apprenticeship has been a perfect way for me to start my career. I’d just finished my last year at school when I heard Barrhead Travel were looking for apprentices. I called Lauren, the manager of the Aberdeen store, who was so helpful and explained how it worked to me. She also told me a bit more about Barrhead Travel as a company and I just knew the apprenticeship would be an ideal opportunity for me.

Nicole MundieSince I’ve started, my colleagues have been such a pleasure to work with and we’ve become a really close team. I look forward to coming to work everyday as it’s so different, and my colleagues have helped me each and every step of the way.

I love my job because it’s never boring! There’s always something new to learn and I get to meet new people everyday and build relationships. I also get the satisfaction of helping people book their dream holiday, which is a great feeling.

I would recommend an MA at Barrhead Travel to anyone who has been thinking about making their first steps in the travel industry. You’ll get important hands on experience as well as enjoying some great perks of the job. If you do start an apprenticeship, my advice would be to work hard as it definitely pays off.”

We also heard from Emma Cameron, who has been at the Barrhead Travel Cumbernauld branch for 4 years after starting straight after school.

“My cousin’s friend worked for Barrhead Travel and recommended me to apply to work here. After a short interview, I was offered a job. After 2 months, I was confident enough to start dealing with clients and made my target the following month. I was mentored by the shop’s Team Leader, who was pleased with my proactivity in seeking out training opportunities and completing online training during lunch hours and at home.

I’m always on the lookout for further training and have attended many sessions at our Oswald Street superstore, including Sandals, Royal Caribbean and Disney. I try to remain proactive by promoting the store in the community and via social media. In 2013, I exceeded my sales target by a 229% which I’m really pleased with.”

In her Modern Apprentice days, Emma won the Apprentice of the Month award several times, and quickly completed her NVQ in Travel & Tourism Services, becoming a fully-fledged travel agent. She’s now a mentor for new Modern Apprentices in the branch.

Emma’s manager Eileen said, “Emma really is an ambassador for the company. When anybarrhead travel EMMA new targets or procedures are rolled out, she’s the first to get behind them. She takes on any task with enthusiasm and sees it through to the end. She has tons of repeat clients and at times it seems like we are working for Emma Travel – customers will wait hours to see her as they know her service is second to none. Often customers are waiting at the door with gifts for her to thank her for looking after them.”

This is just the first step on Emma’s Barrhead Travel journey – she plans to become a team leader as soon as she can, and has her eyes on a Branch Manager’s job within the next few years. After that, the sky’s the limit!

For more information about the Barrhead Travel Group and the opportunities they offer, please visit

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well!