Engineering news

‘Mindset change needed to boost apprenticeship numbers’

Professional Engineering

'Apprenticeships hold no lesser value than other traditional academic routes and should be considered as equal' (Credit: Shutterstock)
'Apprenticeships hold no lesser value than other traditional academic routes and should be considered as equal' (Credit: Shutterstock)

Schools, parents and businesses should “collectively push” the message that apprenticeships are of equal value to traditional academic routes, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has said.

With schools shut and exams cancelled, pupils and parents could be missing out on important careers advice, warned IET skills and education lead Stephanie Baxter. She called for a shift in perception towards apprenticeships, after IET research revealed that a third (32%) of engineering companies are still looking to recruit and train apprentices and graduates to fill skill gaps.

During National Apprenticeships Week, which started today (8 February), the organisation is calling on companies to work with schools to show young people that apprenticeships, particularly in the engineering sector, are a great career choice and can help tackle future challenges such as combating climate change.

Baxter said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for young people to continue their studies whilst experiencing the realities of work. They give employers an opportunity to develop the skills of young people to fill emerging roles and fill critical skills gaps.

“We need to start changing people’s mindset – apprenticeships hold no lesser value than other traditional academic routes and should be considered as equal. We need schools, parents and businesses to collectively push this message to encourage uptake.”

Despite the appetite to recruit apprentices, over a third (38%) of engineering employers expressed concern that apprentices do not understand the realities of work in their industry and that they lack the necessary technical skills (34%).

Baxter added: “Employers should be flexible in their expectations of young people leaving education, who may have missed out on key training and practical opportunities caused by lockdown. 

“It’s disappointing to see there is still a low perception to the quality of young people entering the engineering sector. There are lots of challenges facing us now, such as fighting climate change and transforming our digital world. We believe by improving our understanding of these challenges we will be able to create work-ready recruits that have the ability to tackle problems that do not yet have a known solution.

“Engineering apprentices can be a big part of our next generation of talent, we just need everyone to get behind it.”

Want the best engineering stories delivered straight to your inbox? The Professional Engineering newsletter gives you vital updates on the most cutting-edge engineering and exciting new job opportunities. To sign up, click here.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 


Read more related articles

Professional Engineering magazine

Professional Engineering app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download our Professional Engineering app

Professional Engineering newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to Professional Engineering newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles