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.

The 5% Club_DalePowerSolutions

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

National Apprenticeship Week 2014: 3rd-7th March

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week. Organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the impact they have had on individuals, businesses and the UK economy.

National Apprenticeship Week 2014

Now in its seventh year the theme for National Apprenticeship Week is Great Apprentices.

The growing fear of a UK skills shortage has pushed the issue of apprenticeships to the forefront of debate over the past year and The 5% Club has led the charge, urging public and private companies to Invest in a Generation.

Looking ahead to the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week, we want to share with you some of the standout apprentices from our 20 members, including apprentices who have gained national recognition for their efforts over the past year.

Natasha Pitts, Dale Power Solutions Apprentice

Natasha Pitts The 5% Club

Natasha’s efforts since joining Dale Power Solutions in 2010 was recognised at the National Apprenticeship Awards in November, having been handed the Highly Commended Award for ‘exceptional work as a Higher Apprentice’.

Natasha is currently on an electrical and electrical engineering apprenticeship at Dale Power Solutions and has been described as a role model and a star of the future.

Read Natasha’s case study here

Samantha Ball, MBDA Apprentice

In October of last year, MBDA apprentice Samantha Ball  took to the stage at the Conservative party conference to promote apprenticeships as a viable alternative to full-time education.

Samantha, a logistics apprentice, is currently in her final year of a four year MBDA apprenticeship and has worked across various departments of the company on rotating placements.

Tom Wheatley, QinetiQ Apprentice

Tom Wheatley The 5% Club

Tom is a third year aeronautical apprentice at QinetiQ’s Boscombe Down training school. He is an avid supporter of apprenticeships and has offered his support to The 5% Club’s aims and achievements.

Read Tom’s case study and thoughts on The 5% Club here

The 5% Club Case Study: Matt Speight

25% of Dale Power Solutions workforce are either an apprentice or a former apprentice, which demonstrates the successful careers apprenticeships can bring. As part of promoting apprenticeships, Dale Power Solutions have asked some of their current apprentices to interview former apprentices on their views. This week, award winning apprentice Natasha Pitts interviews former apprentice Matt Speight, currently a sales manager at Dale Power Solutions.

The 5% Club_DalePowerSolutions

1. Why did you take on an apprenticeship?

I applied for college to do engineering, and then applied for an apprenticeship as well, to five or six companies. I had four interviews, followed by two job offers. I preferred Dale over the other company that offered me an apprenticeship.

2. What is your current role in the company and how did you get there?

I am currently a Sales Manager at Dale Power Solutions. To start with I worked in test and applied for a job in tendering. However, I learnt that the tendering position was to be made redundant, so i decided to apply for a sales position instead.

3. How many years have you been at Dale Power Solutions?

Over 21 years in total:

1991 – 1996 – Gristhorpe site, working in panel wire, plant wire, test, engineering

1996-1998 – Erskine UPS test department

1998 – 1999 – Erskine Tendering

1999 – 2000 – Erskine Direct Sales – Standard UPS Sales Managmer

2000 – 2002 – Left and worked at another company for 2 years

2002 – 2003 – Erskine tendering

2003 – present – Erskine Direct Sales, Export and UK accounts

4. Where did you do your apprenticeship?

Dale, in Hitchin. I started off wiring, before moving on to panel wire and plant wire.

5. What discipline did you do your apprenticeship in?

Electrical, Wiring and Test, to a higher national certificate (HNC) level.

6. What did you most enjoy about your apprenticeship?

I loved getting paid and training at the same time. The apprenticeship course was the same course at college that I had applied for full time, but I wouldn’t have got paid or have received employer support. The apprenticeship at Dale offered me both. My first full year at Dale was spent working full time at college, followed by part-time day release for the next three years.

7. Why would you recommend an apprenticeship?

Certainly. The cost to get equivalent training is so much higher, and it is very hard to get the work experience. I would recommend getting an apprenticeship as soon as possible after school or college.

8. Do you have any advice for those looking into apprenticeships?

If you know the subject area, apply to all the local companies who employ staff in those areas, even if they don’t advertise for apprenticeships. Apply for the apprenticeship early, around January or February of the intake year. If you’re not sure of your subject area, apply for a wide variety of apprenticeship options.

9. Give one piece of advice to apprentices and future apprentices.

Once you get an apprenticeship, knuckle down and don’t waste the opportunity which you have been given.

The interviews have been conducted as part of the Brathay challenge and in build up to National Apprenticeship Week (3– 7 March 2014 ).

For more information, follow Dale Power Solutions on Twitter, or visit their website.

Apprenticeships: Opening Doors To A Better Future

The 5% Club’s Dale Power Solutions offers an SME perspective on the importance of apprenticeships…


Dale Power Solutions invests heavily in their most valuable asset – their people and for many years have created an outstanding environment for learning and development.  Although Dale Power Solutions are a global business employing over 240 people, we are committed to manufacturing in the UK and to maintaining Yorkshire’s rich manufacturing heritage along the way.

Dale Power Solutions has its own long standing apprenticeships programme which first began in the 1940’s. Since then, the Dale Power Solutions apprenticeship scheme has been recognised nationally as a top 100 UK apprentice employer and our apprentices have won numerous accolades including:

·         A Higher Apprentice of the Year for Yorkshire and the Humber

·         Insider – Made in Yorkshire Apprentice of the year

·         A highly commended award at the National Apprenticeships finals for Higher Apprentice of the year (top 3 in the country)

·         Shortlisted in the top four in the country in the STEMNET Ambassadors, most inspirational apprentice of the year

·         Derwent Training’s Apprentice of the year award

As part of our commitment to making a positive impact in the local community, several Dale Power Solutions employees have become STEM ambassadors. Our STEM ambassadors use their enthusiasm and commitment to encourage young people to enjoy STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering & maths), opening doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities.

As part of our apprentice’s ongoing commitment to STEM, Dale Power Solutions apprentices regularly visit local schools, giving presentations about working in the wonderful world of engineering. Dale Power Solutions signed up to STEM to promote the values of STEM subjects and apprenticeships, promoting the opportunities which are available right on their doorstep.


Apprenticeships are a rather unknown entity amongst school leavers and that is something that Dale Power Solutions feel must change.

Young people are often presented with just two choices when leaving school; start working with no training, or go to university. Apprenticeships have until recently been seen as an unattractive ‘other’ route, and aren’t fully understood by school leavers.

From our experience, apprenticeships are a comparable option to University and a fantastic way to get into the work place. They can increase chances of employment, whilst also being paid at the same time. That is something that a university course cannot compete with. And of course many of our apprentices go on to undertake university degrees, which is fully funded by Dale Power Solutions.

Dale Power Solutions is committed to making a sustainable positive impact on the communities in which we operate. We aim to make a distinctive contribution to equality and social development through the establishment of effective partnerships and programs that make best use of the energies and skills of our employees.

As an ambassador of The 5% Club it is our aim to encourage other businesses to participate in the campaign, urging more public and private companies to follow suit and aim to update on progress using various platforms, including social media, as the campaign progresses.

An astonishing 25% of Dale Power Solutions current workforce either are an apprentice or went through the apprentice route. We passionately believe in providing rewarding careers and opportunities and see our apprentices as the future of Dale Power Solutions. We strongly urge other SME companies to invest in apprentices.

For more information, follow The 5% Club and Dale Power Solutions on Twitter, and visit our website

The 5% Club Case Study: Natasha Pitts

Dale Power Solutions‘ Higher Apprentice, Natasha Pitts, was honoured at the National Apprenticeship Awards last week, taking home the Highly Commended award in recognition for her exceptional work as a higher apprentice.Natasha Pitts The 5% Club

Natasha has worked at Dale Power Solutions since September 2010 on an Advanced Apprenticeship in electrical and electronic engineering. She completed her Advanced Apprenticeship 2 years early and progressed onto a Higher Apprenticeship.

Natasha’s Apprenticeship has helped her to become a valued team member and is seen as a star of the future and a role model to all apprentices. She has helped to develop training equipment for Dale Power Solutions training partner (Derwent Training) to enhance the learning experience of other apprentices.

Natasha is very passionate about engineering and science and is very proud to promote engineering and the power of apprenticeships in local schools through her role as a STEM ambassador and encourages young people into stimulating, rewarding and enjoyable careers through an apprenticeship.

On receiving her Highly Commended award, Natasha said: “I am very proud to have achieved the highly commended award at the national apprenticeship awards finals in Birmingham. It is both a privilege and an honour to achieve such an award, to be in the top 3 in the country is a fantastic achievement and one that I could have only dreamt of when I joined Dale 3 years ago as an advanced apprentice.”

Tim Wilkins, Chief Executive of Dale Power Solutions, said: “Natasha is a fantastic example of the contribution apprentices have made to our business and how they become part of the future of our business and an integral part of Dale Power Solutions team.”

Four New Companies Sign Up To The 5% Club

The 5% Club is delighted to announce the addition of four new members. Each company has pledged to play a part in addressing youth unemployment and skills shortages within the UK by adopting a 5% employment target for graduates, apprentices and sponsored students within their organisation.

The four companies to have signed up are:

· Vision Express– one of the UK’s largest high street opticians, with 4,000 workers across more than 325 stores.

· Pimlico Plumbers– the UK’s largest independent plumbing company.

· Tessella– the International provider of science powered technology and consulting services.

· Dale Power Solutions– a global leader in critical power supplies.


Vision Express has become the first retailer to sign up to the 5% Club.

Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO, said: “We understand how vital it is to get fresh talent through our doors and in today’s competitive environment, getting that first break into the world of work has never been more important.

“We are elated to be the first retailer to pledge our commitment to this initiative.  We look forward to being part of its future and are proud to formalise our commitment to growing and developing even greater numbers of young people within our business.”

Pimlico Plumbers logo

Charlie Mullins, Managing Director and founder of Pimlico Plumbers, said: “This is the single most important issue facing our economy and society in general right now. If we don’t address the chronic skills shortages afflicting us we will in a few short decades become an economic backwater.

“I have made this point to the Prime Minister on numerous occasions, made submissions to a public enquiry, and written and spoken about the issue until I’m blue in the face.

“Slowly people’s mind-sets are beginning to change on the issue of apprenticeships, and there is no better way for businesses to assist this process than to lead by example by joining The 5% Club.”


Alan Gaby, Tessella’s Managing Director, said: “Helping provide opportunities for the next generation is, I feel, a responsibility of business leaders, but can also be a source of immense satisfaction.  It is especially important and relevant in today’s economic environment and amid the really tough challenges facing our country’s young people.

I am proud that Tessella has joined The 5% Club and whole heartedly support its 5% target for graduates, apprentices and sponsored students in their organisations over a 5 year period.

I have had the good fortune to build a career in the UK technology industry over the past 30 years through training and education opportunities that companies offered and so I am convinced that The 5% Club strategy will be effective.

As a company operating in the UK, we are committed to this country’s growth agenda.  Against this backdrop we are aware of the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment that the UK faces and acknowledge the importance of developing our people as both a business and social imperative.  We aim to play a role in transforming the fortunes of young, talented people in the UK and to ensure that the UK retains its reputation for innovation.”


Dale Power Solutions Chief Executive Tim Wilkins said: “Dale Power Solutions is proof that SME’s can make a significant contribution, work towards and meet the 5% Club Charter. We currently have 6.2% of our workforce in an apprenticeship or sponsored graduate education and by joining The 5% Club we are committed to maintaining a level of at least 5%.

“By signing up to the 5% Club we aim to encourage other organisations to do the same and help make a difference and give the nearly 1 million unemployed under 25’s in the UK a brighter future.”

Each of the four new members have agreed to publicly report progress on the 5% target in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) section of their Annual Report.

Companies wishing to sign up to The 5% Club or which simply would like more information can visit www.5percentclub.org.uk or email contactus@5percentclub.org.uk