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


The 5% Club Case Study: Will Sharpe

This week, The 5% Club Case Study focus is on Will Sharpe, a placement student at Atkins Global. Read about Will’s daily role below:

The 5% Club case studyName: Will Sharpe

Division: Oil and Gas

Location: Epsom

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

I found it really useful to know as much about the placement before I applied. This helped me understand what the ‘Year in Industry’ would involve, and how suited it was to my interests and career aspirations.

I believe this came across rather well in my interview, as I had a clear understanding of the role I was applying for and I could convey a natural passion. However, with regards to the interview, I would also recommend researching the local area and the additional facilities that the site can offer.

I had lived in the North of England all of my life, and with three of my siblings recently moving down to London I felt the urge to see what all the fuss what about. The interviewers already knew my academic skills from my CV so I wanted to make it clear that there were a vast number of reasons why I wanted to join Atkins in Epsom. The location, the lifestyle and the social community!

How is Atkins helping you develop towards your future career?

The placement I applied for was in the Oil and Gas sector, which is split into two six-month placements within the department. The first six months I was working with the Process Simulation team followed by six months working with the Safety Analysis team.

This was very appealing to me as after a somewhat ambiguous three years studying Chemical Engineering I was still unclear of an area I wanted to concentrate on.

This way I obtain twice as much experience in various fields widening my breadth of knowledge towards possible future career paths.

On my first day at Atkins I was introduced to the online training system that they have in place. This amazed me instantly as there is a large catalogue of online tutorials and tests that can be completed at your own leisure. In particular the computer software courses – these will be useful skills to have throughout the whole of my career.

However, it is my colleagues around me that are proving the most helpful. Immediately I was made aware of the relaxed and social atmosphere at Atkins, where any questions you may have can be answered by a quick email, chat or phone call.

The 5% Club Case Study: Mohammed Rehman

This week’s case study focuses on apprentice technician Mohammed Rehman of Atkins. Mohammed joined Atkins as an apprentice technician in August 2013 after completing his A-Levels. Read on to learn more about Mohammed’s day to day role at Atkins…

Atkins case study Mohammed RehmanName: Mohammed Rehman

Role: Apprentice technician

Date Joined: August 2013

I may not have been with Atkins long, but I know I made the right choice to start my career here. I joined in August 2013 as an apprentice technician in the Birmingham office. Before that I had just completed my A-levels in maths, chemistry and biology. Trying to find your feet after A-levels these days is daunting; at first I didn’t know what path to choose – whether to go to university or to jump headfirst into a job. Then someone recommended that I consider apprenticeships, so I began to research the National Apprentice Scheme and found out about Atkins.

My apprenticeship scheme is for two years and I’m currently in the transportation drainage team within Land & Development. From day one it’s been hands-on; I’ve had a steady flow of both admin and project-based work on a range of projects, including East-West Rail, Cadley Hill and Wadi Al Buhair in Bahrain – all in just one month! It’s exciting to be working on real-life projects and learning in such a dynamic environment.

I’ve been mentored from my very first day by a colleague who’s done all he can to make sure I learn the ropes. With more new tasks to get stuck into every day, it’s been so reassuring to have someone on hand to offer advice, take me through the technical systems and help me build my skills base. My line manager has also set out year-one objectives with me so I have clear targets to strive for.

The hands-on nature of my apprenticeship is really stimulating, giving me the chance to apply my existing knowledge and learn on the job. I’m particularly enjoying developing my AutoCAD design skills on live projects. But I’m also able to support this with technical studies – I’m currently working four days a week and spending one day a week studying Level 3 Civil Engineering at Solihull College. It’s the best of both worlds and has allowed me to achieve more than I’d ever expected at the age of 19. Having been so torn between academic studies and the world of work, I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to combine the two. It’s a great experience – I couldn’t have made a better choice.

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: Rebecca Thomas

In the last case study of 2013 from The 5% Club, meet Rebecca Thomas, a maritime graduate from QinetiQ.

Rebecca Thomas QinetiQ

Name: Rebecca Thomas

Position: Maritime Graduate

Studied: BEng Mechanical Engineering, Southampton University

I am currently part of the new Maritime Graduate Scheme at QinetiQ. The scheme lasts for approximately 18 months and will consist of 6, 3 month long modules. Each module will take place in a different area of the maritime division and allow me to gain a real appreciation for the variety of tasks undertaken in the business.

I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and have helped carry out model tests in the QinetiQ Ocean Basin in Haslar. The work has been really varied and enjoyable and I feel like I have learnt a lot in the short time I have been here. In January I will move onto a placement at Winfrith, Dorset. I’m looking forward to getting out onto the ranges and seeing how it all works!

In terms of career aspirations my main focus at the moment is professional development and I aim to achieve chartered status within the next 5 years. In the longer term I would like to become proficient at project management and hopefully become responsible for some of the exciting, big projects that QinetiQ works on.


Seen & Heard: This week in The 5% Club

Coverage in the Telegraph, a new member announcement and representation at the European Employment Forum in Belgium: Its been a busy week for The 5% Club…

QinetiQ chief executive Leo Quinn advocated the use of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates in order to create ‘employability and employment’ in the Telegraph on Friday.

Quinn emphasised Britain’s pedigree for engineering and innovation, describing the country as a ‘byword for invention’:

“On their shoulders a small island stood tall, ranged far and built many wonders of the modern world.”

However, Quinn urged the nation to address chronic skills-shortages in order to generate industrial growth:

Young people are the very resource critical to our future ability to grow and compete globally, to revive Britain’s engineering reputation. For us as industrialists, developing our young people is a straightforward business imperative: as parents and citizens, it is also a moral one.

Leo Quinn also took part in an engineering Q&A for the Telegraph on Friday. Quinn described engineering as one of the ‘great traditions of Great Britain’.

Innovation still drives our world and engineering gives an amazing opportunity to be part of mankind’s ongoing advances.

Tomorrow, QinetiQ’s Head of Sustainability Sam Healy will be part of a panel that discusses Youth Unemployment at a Conference in Belgium. Keep an eye on @5PercentClubUK for the latest talking points from the discussion.

We are proud to announce that Natasha Pitts, an apprentice from The 5% Club member Dale Power Solutions, has been named as one of three Higher Apprentices of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Natasha has also been shortlisted by STEMNET for the Most Inspirational Apprentice award, which will take place later this month. We wish her the best of luck!

Lastly, we are delighted to announce a new member to The 5% Club. Engineering consultancy Clark Eriksson have pledged their support to the Club’s cause and have adopted the 5% employment target for graduates, apprentices and sponsored students within their organisation.

Stay tuned for more member updates from The 5% Club this week.