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


Four New Companies Join The 5% Club

The 5% Club have kicked off 2014 with the signing up of four new companies, including Balfour Beatty and Thales. All of the new members have committed to the Club Charter, ensuring that 5% of their workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.

The four new members to join The 5% Club are:

  • Balfour Beatty– An international infrastructure group, with 20,000 employers in the UK.
  • Thales– One of the UK’s leading engineering and technology companies.
  • The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory– The MOD’s science and technology organisation.
  • Attenda– One of the UK’s largest data centre and Cloud supplier.

The four new additions brings the current number of companies in The 5% Club to 18 and the total number of UK employees to 100,000.


Balfour Beatty Chief Executive, Andrew McNaughton said: “The growth of the construction industry will be vital to helping the UK economic recovery, but at the same time the industry is facing the prospect of a skills shortage. By helping young people to get into work with the proper training and qualifications we can ensure the sustainability of our own business and the wider communities in which we work.”


Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, said: “Organisations that do not invest in the next generation are not only failing to secure their own future, they are also failing in their responsibility to the young people of the UK.  For Thales to remain at the forefront of the UK’s engineering and technology projects, and more broadly for the UK to have the right level of engineering and technical skills to meet future global demand, we must ensure we have excellent training and development programmes in place.

Thales has a strong culture of training and development that stretches back decades and we have developed a comprehensive suite of training experiences for young people – including our excellent graduate development programme, apprentice schemes, internships and other mentoring initiatives that combine learning and working. Our membership of The 5% Club demonstrates Thales Group’s long-term commitment to training and Thales UK’s commitment to the young people of the UK.”


Dstl’s Chief Executive Jonathan Lyle said: “As a public sector science and technology organisation, Dstl is delighted to join The 5% club. We are passionate about supporting and employing young people by offering a variety of opportunities including apprenticeships, industrial placements, Year In Industry placements and graduate opportunities – they bring innovation and fresh ideas into our workforce as well as helping us to play our part in addressing the UK’s skills shortages.”


Leo Quinn, CEO of QinetiQ Group PLC, a founder member of The 5% Club, said: “The breadth of different organisations to have signed up – from construction to law – shows how widely youth unemployment is seen as a national issue – and how much industry wants to raise our skills training in the UK.

“This is a terrific start to 2014 for The 5% Club and we urge other companies to follow Balfour Beatty, Thales, Osborne Clarke, DSTL and Attenda in signing up.”

Companies wishing to sign up to The 5% Club or which simply would like more information can visit or email

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.

Seen & Heard: This Week In The 5% Club

Writing in the Sunday Times last weekend, Business Editor Dominic O’Connell described The 5% Club as a “laudable commitment to training, already taken up by QinetiQ, Atkins, Babcock, MBDA and  EADS”.

“The beauty of the target is that it is simple to measure”.

Elsewhere, Leo Quinn joined Jeff Randall on Sky News on Wednesday evening to discuss The 5% Club. Quinn told Randall that he wanted to ensure that UK industry plays its part in tackling youth unemployment by matching the commitment of the government and educating system. His message was simply: “Skills drives innovation, innovation drives growth and growth drives economic prosperity”.

On Thursday, educational charity The Sutton Trust released a report which revealed that the UK lagged far behind its European rivals in terms of job opportunities and apprenticeships for young people. The report found that only 20% of employers in England offer apprenticeships, compared to 51% of German companies. Moreover, there are only 6 apprentices for every 1,000 workers in Britain, whilst Germany boasts 40 and Switzerland 43.

Finally, The 5% Club has received several messages of support on Twitter this week. Both AGR and The Future Talent Group got in touch on Twitter to offer support to the aims of The 5% Club:

Latest Figures Reveal 958,000 Unemployed Youths

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have released the latest figures on the labour market, revealing that youth unemployment currently stands at 958,000, a figure that has changed little since the start of 2013.

The unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds has risen by 0.1 percentage points to 21.0%, with a total of 2.66 million young people economically inactive (75% of which are in full-time education).

In total, there are 3.6 million 18-24 year olds in employment in the UK, a figure that has decreased by 34,000 since May.

Leo Quinn, QinetiQ Group CEO and a founder of The 5% Club,  said:

“Although these figures show overall unemployment falling, they continue to highlight our challenge with youth unemployment. The UK is globally disadvantaged by its skills shortage, yet we still have over [one million] 16-24 year olds with no career prospects.

“A lot of good work is being done from the education end: now it’s up to us in industry to create the jobs in which our young people can develop their ability and drive Britain’s future prosperity. We set up The 5% Club to galvanise those of us in corporate life to invest in this generation: we need as many companies as possible to sign up and help improve this situation.”

To view the latest ONS labour market data, click here.