Engineering apprenticeship success for London locals

15 young people from diverse backgrounds have been supported into competitive advanced engineering apprenticeships positions through our pre-Apprenticeship programme. The scheme, as part of our Budding Brunels programme, aimed to increase diversity within the 2013 intake of apprentices working for companies within the London Technician Apprenticeship Consortium, as well as delivering industry-led careers guidance and employability. T

he programme played a significant role in the delivery of a Royal Academy of Engineering-funded project undertaken by Mott MacDonald, on behalf of the London Technician Apprenticeship Consortium and the Institution of Civil Engineers. The overall purpose of this project was to draw upon the experiences of the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium members to determine whether apprenticeship recruitment is an effective way of helping non-standard entrants into professional engineering careers.

The employer-led initiative, funded by the National Apprenticeship Service, Transport for London, the Royal Academy of Engineering and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, gave 55 young people a chance to learn directly from companies and current apprentices through a series of industry awareness and employability events. Sessions included college visits and work shadowing opportunities, ensuring candidates were making informed decisions about their future and submitting competitive applications to leading companies at the end of the process.

Endrit Badallaj, who was offered a Structural Engineering Apprentice with Arup said: ‘I think Budding Brunels was the most important thing in helping me to secure a position with Arup, because I don’t think I would have made it without this support. The various events, such as the employability workshop and the work shadowing, gave me a big boost.’ Of the 15 Budding Brunels beneficiaries who have been recruited by consortium companies in London this September, 67% were from black, asian, minority, ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. However only 11% of recruits from the 2012 national intake were from BAME backgrounds, which suggests that the programme has successfully broadened ethnic diversity in the sector.

Additionally, 80% of the 2013 recruits are from London boroughs that were ranked in the top 50 of the most deprived local authorities in England. Christine Townley, our Executive Director commented: ‘We are extremely pleased that we have been able to support 15 talented young people into the construction industry at a crucial time when skills shortages are facing the sector. The outcomes are very positive and indicate that the pilot has been successful in opening up the industry to a more diverse pool of talent, who would otherwise have not considered a career in engineering. By working closely with a group of employers and funders with a common objective, we have been able to use our expertise to ensure that the barriers that some young people face in recruitment into advanced apprenticeships can be overcome.’

Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Engineering and Education, Royal Academy of Engineering said: ‘The Royal Academy of Engineering is really proud of its involvement in this project. We are actively supporting engineering employers and professional engineering institutions in doing all they can to attract engineers and technicians from different backgrounds. The well evidence engineering skills gap suggests the UK needs to train and recruit more Engineering Technicians to secure its economic prosperity. The Technician Apprenticeship Consortium, supported by the Construction Youth Trust and Hoile Associates, is a really good example of the engineering community coming together to widen the talent pool and deliver valued level 3 Advanced apprenticeships’.

Andrew Quincey, Director of Commercial, Transport for London said: ‘Transport for London is delighted to have been involved in this innovative and successful project which has had such a positive impact on diversity. Within the engineering industry skills shortages, under representation and an ageing workforce remain key challenges to future investment plans. It is exactly this kind of pioneering and collaborative project which is needed to begin to tackle these challenges and adapt the way in which we as an industry recruit our talent. It is excellent to see TfL suppliers engaged with Construction Youth Trust on this project, and we look forward to further positive outcomes in the future.’

Please take a look at the full report and executive summary to find out more about the project.