The engineering world wants hard-earned academic qualifications. It’s no lie. A degree from a well-known, respected university can get you a job. However, do you have experience? This is where engineering apprenticeships come in. A student studying towards their Masters Engineering levels could see themselves taking part in an apprenticeship and equipping themselves with even more engineering skills which will lead to a lucrative career. Learning practical skills in an industry-specific apprenticeship will give you invaluable background information and skills that will equip you to go further and do more in the career you are building towards.
Engineering UK said in 2013 that there would be a demand for 69,000 qualified people in an engineering apprenticeship positions from the years 2010-2020. However, only 27,000 apprentices get their qualifications per year in the UK. The bigger picture is that by 2020, the UK expects to have seen 1.86 million jobs to have been made available in the engineering industry.
Furthermore, there is the nasty business of seeing the gender imbalance statistics in engineering apprenticeships. The issue of men outnumbering women in engineering is unavoidable these days, and it obviously affects the apprenticeship numbers as well. The Young Women’s Trust compiled a report that revealed there are 25 male apprentices in a program and only one female. They have also highlighted that men apprentices get paid more than female apprentices. Aecom has also recently warned the industry that the gender gap needs to be addressed due to less than 8% of manufacturing and engineering technology apprenticeship programs being given to women candidates. Those numbers were made public by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in the UK.
Mark Gale, campaigns manager at Young Women’s Trust said: “We know that for engineering there’s such a massive skills requirement over the next few years. Currently, one in five schoolchildren would have to become an engineer to fill that gap.” Their findings also showed that 16% of female apprentices were able to find work once completing their apprenticeships. “So despite all that investment in trying to get young women into science, technology, engineering and maths workplaces, it’s not really having an impact.”
There has been a renewed effort to include more women in the industry, especially in apprenticeship positions and to remove any discrimination that is prevalent in engineering workplaces. Now, that Britain has just gone through with an exit from the European Union, apprenticeships will be very important to the future skills teaching in the sector. An engineering firm called Dawson Shanahan has seen the need to train younger engineers so that longevity can be achieved.
Les Reeves, joint managing director of Dawson Shanahan said: “At a time when the engineering skills gap is continuing to grow, effectively training young people is key to preventing a decline in manufacturing in the UK and protecting our economy. Giving young people the skills they need to be at the cutting edge of our industry and the job market is vital for their future and for the future of engineering in the UK.”