Record Breaking Number of Apprentices Join NPL in 2015


Since 2013, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has invested in a comprehensive Advanced Apprenticeship programme which in September this year saw a record breaking 13 trainees join the company. For the first time , this intake of trainees will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills across the company in areas as diverse as soft skills training, science and business administration, while working towards formal qualifications.

On top of developing this scheme NPL has been leading the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Metrology Trailblazer group in a series of steps to drive up the quality of apprenticeships within the industry. It has been developing standards and assessment guidelines for metrology apprenticeships which meet the needs of industry.

Metrology, the science of measurement, is not only an individual discipline of the physical sciences, but the base of our daily activities. Each year, over £600 billion worth of goods and utilities are sold on the basis of the measurement of their quantity. Skills in metrology underpin every sector, from construction to healthcare, and are vital in increasing the productivity and competitiveness of UK manufacturing and industry.

NPL apprentices

Dr Peter Thompson, NPL’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“I am immensely proud of the significant contribution that NPL’s graduates and apprentices make to our scientific research and the real world impact it has. The professional skills developed through this and similar schemes are crucial to the UK’s continued success in scientific research and innovation.”

NPL are proud members of the 5% club and have committed to ensuring that 5% of their UK workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.

To find out more information about NPL’s apprenticeship schemes and the opportunities the company offers, 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.


The 5% Club Case Study: Ella Ellisdon

A happy New Year from all at The 5% Club!

We thought we’d kick off 2014 with a case study, so meet Ella Ellisdon, an Astrium Engineering apprentice from aerospace and defence company EADS.

Ella Ellisdon EADSName: Ella Ellisdon

Division: Engineering

Location: Stevenage

I have been an Astrium Engineering apprentice since September 2012; I joined as I got to spend the first year studying for PEO (Performing Engineering Operations) and BTEC National in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering qualifications at Highbury College in Portsmouth.

I am currently in industry doing real hands on work for the company, studying for my NVQ level 3, as well as doing block release back to college to gain a HNC in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. This will continue for my final two years on the apprenticeship.

A massive positive of this apprenticeship scheme with Astrium, is that you get to move around the company, working under different people, doing different types of engineering in each placement. This gives the apprentices the chance to develop themselves and gives the opportunity to see what department you would potentially like to end up in.

Every day is different, and being able to adapt and change to different challenges that arise, makes the work place a great place to be a team member of.


The 5% Club Case Study: Makena Ireri

As part of our series examining success stories from the members of The 5% Club, meet Makena Ireri, a Civil Engineer graduate from Atkins.

Makena Ireri

Joined: April 2012

Role: Civil Engineer in the Energy (Nuclear) division

I joined Atkins after graduating from the University of Manchester. I have already been involved in a high profile project for EDF, one of major clients. The project – the Sizewell B Emergency Response Centre (ERC) – responds to a report by the Office for Nuclear Regulation which identified lessons to be learned from the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. I carried out structural design and analysis of various components of the ERC, applying lot of the engineering theory I learned at university.

I was attracted to Atkins by its international reach and the opportunity to work on a range of exciting projects. The graduate training and development route offers mentoring and supplementary courses, and gives individuals the responsibility for their personal development, allowing me to tailor my route to chartership and manage my wider career development goals.

The 5% Club Case Study: Chris Fisher

In the first of our series examining success stories from The 5% Club’s partners, meet Chris Fisher, an former graduate at QinetiQ who is now a Naval Architect.



Joined: September 2009 as a Naval Architect at Haslar Marine Technology Park

Studied: ‘Ship Science’ (naval architecture) between 2005-09 at University of Southampton, gaining a MEng.

Role: My role mainly involves assessing different aspects of ship and submarine performance (e.g. powering, manoeuvring, stability and seakeeping), either through full scale trials and data or series of model tests. Much of the work is on current and future naval shipbuilding projects.

Some of my highlights and achievements include conducting through-build inspections, acceptance trials and delivering the new QinetiQ Loch Goil workboat built in Holland. I organised and managed the QinetiQ Schools’ Powerboat Challenge for the last 3 years to support STEM activities with school pupils.