Chris Eckert, Packing Automation Ltd, Shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award

Chris Eckert, electrical engineer apprentice at Packaging Automation Ltd (PA) was recently shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award. We heard from Chris about his experiences to date and what the future holds for him.

“I began my engineering career with Packaging Automation Ltd (PA), leading manufacturers of reliable, versatile and cost effective filling and tray sealing solutions, in August 2011.


During my three year apprenticeship I have spent the majority of my time working in the factory and gaining invaluable experience in all sectors of the company, from the design sector to systems, fabrication, service, machine assembly, wiring and the machine shop.

As part of this scheme I have also been working towards engineering qualifications at a tailored college course in order that I gain the necessary credential to progress as an engineer within the company.

I am now in the third year of my apprenticeship and have so far achieved an NVQ Level 2.

Packaging Automation is passionate about apprenticeships and they have invested in my training and personal development over the past three years. I have particularly enjoyed working on the range of different products that PA manufacture as well as accompanying engineers to customers’ sites to deal with faults and breakdowns.

I am constantly challenged by the work and encouraged to develop my skills as an engineer in an environment where I am supported and coached to be the best I can be. Most importantly, I have always felt like an equal and valuable member of the team.

I have recently been shortlisted for the Semta Apprentice of the Year Award which is a huge honour. It feels great that my hard work and academic achievements have been recognised at this level. I very much hope that this nomination will highlight the brilliant work and great effort PA Ltd do to invest in young people, like myself, and our future.

I am very much looking forward to attending the award ceremony in February and hearing about the achievements of all the other nominees and the great things apprentices can do.”


For more than 25 years, Packaging Automation has been offering high quality engineering apprenticeships to young school leavers. These apprenticeships offer a genuine opportunity to recruits to gain a recognized engineering qualification with full time employment at the end.

PA is proud of its apprentice scheme which enables it to ‘grow’ its own talent and identify the individuals who will become the managers, machinery designers, systems engineers, sales engineers, and project engineers of the future. To find out more information about PA’s apprenticeship scheme, 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 Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, and LinkedIn.


BETHELL’s 10 Year Apprenticeship Scheme Celebrated with New Entrants

This month, Bethell has welcomed five new entrants on to its well-established apprenticeship scheme in recognition and celebration of the programme’s ten year anniversary.

Bethel Logo_Blue

These new entrants will have the opportunity to attain an NVQ2 Qualification through this apprenticeship scheme and will subsequently achieve an NVQ3 qualification. This opportunity will open many exciting doors into the working world for the apprentices as well as vital life experience to ensure they are fully prepared for a successful career.

All five apprentices have been selected from Bolton and its surrounding areas. Not only does Bethell wish to provide opportunities for youngsters entering the world of work but it continues to boost local employment opportunities through its work with the Highways Framework Partnership with Bolton Council.

Bethell Managing Director, Vinny O’Dowd has stressed the importance of investing in young people: “Our apprenticeship programme is vital in ensuring that we are adequately prepared for future skills shortages whilst at the same time supporting the local community.


Front row left to right Kester Cropper and Brandon Hayes, back row left to right Shea Roach, Ryan Crowder and Joshua Chapman

“Over the past ten years the programme has produced some outstanding tradesmen who are now amongst some of our most highly skilled and respected employees”. With this mentality, the company’s decision to join The 5% Club was a natural one.

For more information about the Bethell apprenticeship scheme please visit the company’s website

To find out more information about The 5% Club, and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found onTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Minister Priti Patel joins members of The 5% Club in celebrating Apprentices

On Thursday 3rd December, Employment Minister Priti Patel joined members of The 5% Club in celebrating the value apprentices hold and the importance in investing in them.


The member’s quarterly meeting, which was hosted by member Pimlico Plumbers at their Head Quarters in London, saw representatives from the campaign’s 135 member employers gather together to discuss what their companies are doing to provide great earn and learn opportunities for young people.


Within her speech at the event, Patel said “Everyone should be talking about the 5% Club. This is a fantastic initiative to ensure companies have the next generation of skilled workers, through high-quality apprenticeships and graduate schemes.” You can read Patel’s full speech here.


Pippa Morgan, head of Education and Skills at the CBI also spoke at the event on the apprenticeship levy and what it means for businesses.

Before the meeting, six selected members, QinetiQ, Pimlico Plumbers, Maylarch, Croudace, Renishaw and AWE joined trade body WAMT (Women and Manual Trades) and HR magazine People Management in discussing encouraging girls to take up training opportunities in the trade and STEM sector. You can read more on these discussions here.


Dr Sam Healy, Programme Director of The 5% Club said, “The event was a fantastic success and showcased what a great people network the campaign has become. Every quarter, we get together to share best practice in providing quality earn and learn opportunities for young people and it was a great opportunity for our members to get to share their thoughts with the Minister and the CBI.”


To find out more information about The 5% Club, and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Applications Open for AWE’s Prestigious Apprenticeship Scheme

AWE, the world-renowned engineering company, at the forefront of the UK nuclear deterrence programme is currently inviting applications from the brightest young talent to apply for their award winning apprenticeship scheme.


For more than 60 years AWE has proudly dedicated itself to the UK Continuous at Sea Deterrence programme and national nuclear security. To do this to the best of their ability, they have consistently ensured they nurture the right skills and expertise throughout this programme.

The AWE team is made up of highly qualified scientists, engineers and specialists all of whom work together to design, manufacture, service and maintain warheads for Royal Navy submarines.

AWE also provides intelligence and support to the UK Government by developing new innovative solutions to combat nuclear threat, proliferation and terrorism and provide an expert 24/7 emergency nuclear response unit – keeping the British Isles secure.

The company is offering full 3 year apprenticeship schemes in a variety of exciting capacities across the company:

  • Precision Machining
  • Control and Instrumentation
  • Electronic
  • Electrical Maintenance
  • Mechanical Maintenance

Being a part of this scheme is a great way to kick-start a career. It will provide young people with all the skills and training necessary to pursue a promising career in engineering and technology. It will also give them the opportunity to occupy a very unique position – supporting the defence and security of the United Kingdom.

This is a highly prestigious apprenticeship scheme and candidates will be learning and gaining hands on experience from the most qualified engineers in the country, achieving highly credible qualifications and earning a salary at the same time.

Picture 4- Skills Academy Circa 1950

If pursuing an apprenticeship scheme with such an exciting and well-regarded company is of interest, please visit / to learn more about how to apply for the apprenticeship scheme and read about the experiences of current apprentices.

AWE will also be holding an Apprentice Open Day at Tadley library, in Hampshire, on Tuesday 1st December from 3pm and wishes to welcome anyone interested in the scheme to come and talk to them further about it. More details of this Open Day can also be found on the AWE apprenticeship website.

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by Information about the campaign can also be found onTwitter and LinkedIn.

The 5% Club wins ‘Best Public Relation Campaign’ at B2B Marketing Awards!

We are delighted to announce that The 5% Club has been crowned B2B Marketing’s ‘Best PR Campaign of the Year’ for all QinetiQ and PHA Media’s hard work in raising awareness of the campaign.


The annual award ceremony, which was held this year at the Honourable Artillery Club in Central London, is recognised as the leading B2B awards in the PR and Marketing industry.

Since the launch of the campaign, founding company QinetiQ enlisted the help of PHA Media to act as the campaign’s acting press office and raise the profile of the campaign amongst British businesses.

As an agency that pride themselves on a journalistic ethos, PHA Media have been prolific in sustaining consistent coverage for the campaign in an integrated campaign across all media channels. As a result of this, the team at PHA have been able to get under the skin of the campaign, the companies involved and, most importantly, the individuals it benefits. Since 2013, the team from QinetiQ with the support of PHA media have together successfully secured commitment from over 134 companies from a huge range of industry sectors.


Not only has the campaign helped to address the nationwide need of young people with industry specific skills, but it has helped raise the profile of this issue both amongst employers and recruiters through coverage in national newspapers, broadcast platforms and industry specific publications.

Winning this award after consistent, concerted efforts is hugely rewarding both for the team involved at QinetiQ and at PHA media as well as all of the members of the campaign that continue to help the campaign grow and encourage other British businesses to commit to the 5% pledge.

While we are incredibly proud, we will use this award to develop the campaign further and hope it will allow us to bring it even greater success. There is still a huge amount to do in order to tackle the skills gap and youth unemployment. It is important that all British businesses start to recognise the potential young people harness and invest in them for the good of their business, young people’s lives and Britain’s future.

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Troup Bywaters + Anders commits to the next generation by joining The 5% Club


Engineering services design consultants Troup Bywaters + Anders has showcased its commitment to the next generation by joining The 5% Club.

Troup Bywaters + Anders, which was established in 1958 and has 8 offices across the UK, is committed to supporting and developing the next generation of engineers and leaders, building on their long running commitment to giving young people from all backgrounds a chance to create a successful career in engineering. The company has a well-defined and structured apprenticeship scheme now in its fourth year and provides a professional route into the engineering industry with both academic and development opportunities at all stages up to Chartership.

Troup and By Anders Apprentices

Managing Partner, Neil Weller is an ambassador of the company’s programme having started as an apprentice himself.  Neil has spearheaded their apprenticeship drive from the start and is committed to the development of the new Trailblazer scheme with TB+A acting as lead employer with the future aim of apprentices achieving Incorporated Engineer status as a direct result of completing their apprenticeship.

‘’We now need to raise the standing of engineering apprenticeships in the eyes of parents and  youngsters so they can see there is a credible alternative to full time education. 

 Apprenticeships provide access to the profession that would otherwise be closed to those less well off in our society as well as providing invaluable work experience and mentoring from employers who are committed to developing the next generation of professional engineers”.

In total, Troup Bywaters + Anders currently have 28 apprentices, graduates and sponsored students, representing 14% of the workforce.  The key to their success in recruiting and supporting young people is the passion and commitment shown from the Partners and senior management team, which filters down through the organisation ensuring that they are supported by HR and mentors across the business.

They plan to increase their ratio to 20% in 2016 and see apprenticeship and STEM ambassadorial activities as crucial to delivering this. Membership of The 5% Club amongst others will play a key role in helping achieve this target.

To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit  or get in touch by emailing Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Shepley Engineers Ltd commits to the The 5% Club


Shepley Engineers Ltd, a multi discipline engineering company with headquarters in Whitehaven, Cumbria, has showcased its commitment to the next generation by joining The 5% Club.

Shepley Engineers Ltd are committed to training and development, and have been investing in their employees’ development, and specifically apprenticeships for many years. They have a good mix of apprenticeships covering pipe fitting, welding, plating, erectors, and electrical disciplines. In 2014 they also introduced the Project Controls apprenticeship to meet an increasing need.


In addition to this they also have various trainees and a Graduate Engineer, and run an “Improvers” scheme for people who have previously worked in unskilled or Semi-skilled positions, and are now being upskilled to full tradesman status.

Nick Houghton Managing Director of Shepley Engineers says “We are more than happy to become members of The 5% Club as we have been investing in apprentices and the training and development of our staff for many years. We recognise that the best way for us to build and develop our workforce is through providing these opportunities.

“We also like to develop our engineers through this route, giving apprentices who demonstrate the necessary ability and drive, the opportunity to further their education and move into trainee engineer roles when they complete their apprenticeships.

“We feel that this gives us a strong Project Engineer and Manager capability, based on not just education but practical skills and delivery experience.  Our commitment and support of this approach is backed up and clearly demonstrable by the fact that our Chairman, MD and most of our board of directors and senior managers are from apprentice backgrounds, showing apprentices that it really is possible for them to end up running the company!”


Shepley Engineers currently has 34 apprentices, (31 across various trades, 3 in Project Controls), 9 trainee engineers, 1 trainee estimator and 1 graduate at Coventry University.

By signing up to The 5% Club Shepley have committed to work towards maintaining at least 5% of their workforce on apprenticeships or graduate training programmes over the next five years. Currently they are at 5.8% and their aim is to stay above the 5% target in the future, which is of course dependent on contracts and forward load.

To find out more information about Shepley Engineers 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 Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.