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Combating the skills gap and ageing workforce

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In the UK, manufacturing and engineering companies are becoming more dependent on recruitment through apprenticeships to bring new talent into the sector. EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has found that six in 10 UK manufacturers have taken on an engineering and manufacturing apprentice in the last 12 months and looking ahead to the next 12 months, the picture is even more encouraging as over two thirds of manufacturers are planning to recruit engineering and manufacturing apprentices into their companies.

Further findings

The above supports previous research by EEF, which showed a growing need within the sector for R&D, design, technical, project management and technician skills. This is primarily due to manufacturers’ strategic outlook to develop new markets, launch new products and new services, and introduce new processes, all of which can only be done with the right workforce.

As three quarters of manufacturers have said that they generally recruit apprentices aged between 16 and 18, companies are clearly seeing apprenticeships as a way to boost the pipeline of talent into the industry.


Peter Winebloom, EEF’s Director of Apprentice Skills said, ‘it is certainly positive news to see that apprenticeship recruitment is high across the manufacturing sector, and that the next 12 months are set to increase further. Apprenticeships have the potential to address the skills gap facing the sector as the need to change and adapt becomes vital for the industry’s growth and development.

‘As well as bringing fresh talent to fill new, and critical roles, apprenticeships provide a positive and valuable starting point in the careers of many young people, while employers are able to benefit from a keen, ready to learn individual who has the potential to grow and develop within their organisation.’

National Apprenticeship Week

The above findings and comments mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place between 3rd – 7th March 2014. This is the event’s seventh year and is about raising the profile of the importance of apprenticeships to the UK economy. 

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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