Shepley Engineers Ltd commits to the The 5% Club

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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.

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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!”

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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 www.shepleyengineers.co.uk

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

Record Breaking Number of Apprentices Join NPL in 2015

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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.

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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

www.npl.co.uk/careers/apprenticeships

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

The 5% Club Case Study: Ruth Kennedy

As part of our series of The 5% Club Case Studies, our focus this week is on Ruth Kennedy, a one-time nuclear placement student at Atkins Global. Read on to learn more about Ruth’s experience on a placement programme…

The 5% Club apprenticeship case studyWhat did you enjoy most about your industrial placement?

I worked for Atkins for two months last summer, and I was impressed by the amount of responsibility I was given. My colleagues treated me like a contemporary despite the fact I’d only just completely my first year, and were welcoming and happy to explain anything I didn’t understand. It’s a young, friendly working environment and I had such a good time that I came back for a year placement with Atkins. I enjoy being given real projects to work on, and feeling like I’m making a useful contribution.

What advice would you give to a student looking for a placement?

I think doing placements is a useful way of figuring out what you would (and wouldn’t!) want to do after university. In a consultancy particularly, you have the chance to see something of lots of different types of projects, and it’s a useful way to gain experience. It’s worth really thinking about areas you’re interested in, areas you’d like to find out more about, and any areas you wouldn’t want to work in. Do research, talk to people and ensure that you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the area you’re applying to.

View more case studies from The 5% Club here

Dale Power Solutions Job Shadow

During National Apprenticeship Week, The 5% Club member Dale Power Solutions held a job swap involving the company’s senior staff and apprentices.

Andrew Marr, Dale Power Solutions’ Finance Director, joined apprentices on a cold Scarborough morning to take part in a community renovating project. Swapping his calculator for a shovel, Andrew worked alongside Dale’s Brathay Challenge Apprentice team and tried his hand at gardening .

Watch his interview with leading apprentice Natasha Pitts below, and head over to Dale Power Solutions’ website to learn more about their efforts during National Apprenticeship Week.

The 5% Club SME Case Study: Dale Power Solutions

The 5% Club is made up of a vast array of members, all sharing the same goal of ensuring that 5% of their workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.

We’ve introduced to you a large number of leading apprentices and graduates from our members over the previous year, many of whom work for SMEs. The government have made it their aim to make apprenticeships more accessible to SMEs and to improve uptake in the coming years.

Our case study focus this week is on engineering firm Dale Power Solutions. Read on to find out more about their apprenticeship scheme and why they joined The 5% Club.

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Why did you join The 5% Club?

The answer is that we are passionate about apprenticeships, bringing young people into the world of engineering, training and educating them so they go onto to become and shape the Dale Power Solutions of the future. The 5% Club demonstrates our commitment to apprenticeships which in turn provides confidence to our local community that joining Dale as an apprentice means you can have an exciting and stimulating  career for years to come. As a 5% Club member we can help attract other companies to join in and see how beneficial apprentices can be to an organisation.

What is your view on apprenticeships?

Natasha Pitts The 5% Club

The power of apprenticeships, where could yours take you? With Dale Power Solutions it could literally be anywhere.

We are a nationally recognised award winning top 100 UK apprenticeship employer, producing award winning apprentices. We are one of the largest apprenticeship employers in the Scarborough area, currently employing just under 250 employees, of which 25% began their career as an apprentice.

We are creating new jobs in the region, at least 30 in the last 12 months and with growth plans in place to double our service business and increase manufacturing there are plenty more jobs we will have on offer. Apprenticeships very much go hand-in-hand with this growth strategy.

We must therefore do all we can to promote engineering and apprenticeship and the 5% Club helps with this but we recognise that we must continue working closely with our local community.

With this in mind Dale is supporting the Yorkshire Coast Employability Charter, bringing schools and businesses together to provide opportunities for young people to gain an insight into work, the jobs available, and developing the skills and other qualities to increase their employability.

We are committed to making a sustainable positive impact on the communities in which we operate.

What are your future plans for apprenticeships?

We normally recruit about 3 apprentices a year but in 2013 we took in 5 Advanced Apprentices, 1 Higher Apprentice and 4 graduates. 2014 will see apprentice recruitment continue in a similar manner and for years to come.

We participate in various careers events with students and teachers, including holding work experience placements, careers and apprenticeship presentations, education events and company tours to promote links between schools and industry. Dale has also sponsored and supported Scarborough Engineering Week since it was established 4 years ago and will do so again in October this year to promote engineering locally.

To learn more about Dale Power Solutions, visit their website or follow @DPowerSolutions on Twitter

Vision Express welcomes new recruits during National Apprenticeship Week

Vision Express, The 5% Club

The 5% Club member Vision Express has marked National Apprenticeship Week by announcing the arrival of 15 school and college leavers onto their apprenticeship programme.

The group have embarked on a 13 month employer-embedded programme where they will work towards a Level 2, Intermediate Apprenticeship in Health- the equivalent to 5 GCSEs.

Vision Express apprenticesMeanwhile, as the latest recruits get settled in, the high street opticians are on the lookout for a further 20 apprentices, having opened applications to their Spring apprenticeship intake.

In October, Vision Express became the first high street retailer to join The 5% Club, having pledged to meet the 5% employment target as specified in the Club’s Charter.

Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, said: “It’s fantastic to have our new recruits on board. They should be extremely proud of themselves for securing a place on this apprenticeship programme, given the volume and calibre of candidates who applied. We are really pleased with the programme we have developed, and hope the apprentices take full advantage of the training and career opportunities available to them. We wish them every success for their future with Vision Express.”

To keep an eye on the progress of The 5% Club and its members, follow us on Twitter @5PercentClubUK. To learn more about Vision Express’ recruitment programe

The 5% Club Case Study: Mike Dodd

As part of our National Apprenticeship Week drive, we take a look at QinetiQ apprentice Mike Dodd. Mike is part of the QinetiQ team taking part in the 2014 Brathay Challenge. Supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, the Brathay Challenge aims to find the apprentice team of the year by putting them through a series of challenges aimed at testing team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities.

To monitor how they get on, follow the team on Twitter: @QATSBAC14

Mike is a second year team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities. Read more about his day to day role at QinetiW, and his experiences in the Brathay Challenge below.

Mike Dodd The 5% Club Case StudyBefore embarking on an apprenticeship at QinetiQ, I had applied to two different aeronautical courses at university, as well as this apprenticeship. I was struggling to decide which of the courses to study, and after a discussion with a lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, I decided to pursue the apprenticeship instead. The main thing that attracted me was the hands-on experience I would gain whilst earning my way at the same time.

I was aware of QinetiQ and the Boscombe Down training school before I applied to join their apprenticeship programme. I was accepted onto their mechanical  aeronautical apprenticeship course, and currently I am in my second year.

The first two years of the apprenticeship are spent in the Hangar. A typical day revolves around theory and practical learning. A day lasts from 8am to 4:30pm and the morning is usually spent in the classroom, learning the theory side of mechanical engineering. In the afternoon, we’ll head out to the hangar for practical lessons, where we’ll usually work on decommissioned aircraft. It offers a great environment to learn and develop skills.

The highlight of my time so far as a QinetiQ apprentice has to be watching ground runs of an RAF Tornado jet. A ground run is a series of safety checks performed on an aircraft, including thrusting the engines. I was fortunate enough to experience the incredible sound a Tornado generates first hand, and the experience was awesome and unforgettable. I get a real kick out of working and being around aircraft, so it was an incredibly exciting experience. Although of course, not everyday is like that!

One of the aspects of an apprenticeship that a degree just cannot match is the unparalleled experience that is on offer. Depending on your degree, there are a multitude of reasons to go down the university route, but by pursuing an apprenticeship, I am gaining valuable working hours very early on in my career. In that respect, I am gaining an advantage over a graduate.

I have two and a half years left of my apprenticeship at QinetiQ, and I am already looking forward to continuing my work beyond the training My advice to any school leavers looking to pursue an apprenticeship is to just go for it! There is an impression that apprenticeships aren’t as ‘academic’ as university but I do not believe that at all.

What I would say is that the skills you learn at A-Level are vital, whether you go to university or enrol on an apprenticeship, so work equally as hard regardless of your future plans.

Part of my QinetiQ apprenticeship involves taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, a nationwide competition supported by the National Apprenticeship Service and organised by the Brathay Trust. The aim is to demonstrate the quality of apprenticeships, whilst there is a competitive edge to do as well for your company as possible.

Last week, I took part in the Apprenticeship Slam, the latest event in the competition. I will be spoke in front of senior secondary school pupils about my training and background, and was up against challengers from the likes of Babcock and JP Morgan. The general outline of my talk was to explain why QinetiQ’s apprenticeship programme is the best in the world. Of course in my view, it is!