Committing to apprenticeships within engineering does pay – report

Investing in apprenticeships can bring valuable payback for employers – of as much as £2,500 and £18,000 per apprentice per year, an engineering charity has said.

But the report by the engineering and manufacturing skills charity Enginuity, in partnership with The Engineer magazine, has also concluded that engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship achievement rates currently remain low in England.

Apprenticeship achievement rates in England – currently 60% in 2022/23, an increase of 2% on the year before – are well below the government’s target of hitting 67% by 2024/25.

The report, ‘Unlocking the value of apprenticeships for engineering and manufacturing SMEs’, has outlined a range of recommendations for small and medium-sized businesses on how to get the best value from an apprenticeship.

While all relatively self-evident, these include benchmarking your apprenticeship against those run by other employers or sectors, prioritising candidates who will be the best fit, and cultivating good relationships with your training providers.

Other advice is that you should prepare early – both yourself and the apprentice – for the end-point assessment, and invest properly in your apprentice (including paying them properly).

Key challenges faced by employers, especially smaller employers, were apprentices leaving the scheme early for a better role or because of a change of job (41%), training not being as good as hoped for (27%), and a perception that their scheme was not being well run (22%).

The requirement for maths and English qualifications as part of the end-point assessment was also a further challenge for some.

Employers that achieved higher completion rates tended to have mentoring in place (42%), a regular review process (39%), and good collaborative working processes with their training provider (36%).

Intriguingly, those that actively recruited older apprentices (31%) also reported better completion rates, as did those that ran their own assessment days (22%), the report argued.

‘The culture of these organisations has also shifted,’ the report concluded, ‘with many of them viewing themselves as contributing to and benefiting from a wider skills ecosystem.

‘These employers are not feeling deterred when they lose an apprentice to a competing organisation,’ it added.

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