National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration that shines a spotlight on the importance of apprenticeships in preparing the next generation for successful careers. In 2024, this week-long event takes on particular significance for the field of engineering. As we strive to address the global challenges of our time, including climate change, sustainable infrastructure, and technological advancements, it is crucial to nurture future talent, foster engineering excellence and create pathways for budding professionals. To make this year’s event a success, there are a number of key focus areas that organisations looking to welcome new apprentices into their ranks should be aware of and engage with.
Putting a spotlight on engineering apprenticeships
National Apprenticeship Week 2024 serves as an important touchpoint in the year for not just potential employees, but employers too. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote apprenticeships as a viable and valuable pathway into engineering careers. Businesses should be reminded not just this week, but beyond to engage with educational institutions, industry associations, and recruitment partners to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships at their company and inspire young individuals to pursue these opportunities - highlighting the dual advantages of gaining hands-on experience while acquiring valuable skills.
Collaboration between industry and education
To shape the next generation of engineers, collaboration between industry and education is key. If your business hasn’t already, it is worth compiling a list of local institutions who could be approached to work in collaboration to share your apprenticeship programme with the wider community. There are a number of ways to do this, such as hosting workshops, organising mentorships that connect experienced engineers with apprentices, enabling the transfer of knowledge, practical skills and guidance – or an open day at a local college or university to attract interest from soon-to-be graduates looking to get into the field.
Focus on future technologies
National Apprenticeship Week is an ideal platform to emphasise the role of engineering in developing and implementing future technologies. Events and activities can highlight cutting-edge areas, such as sustainable energy, robotics, artificial intelligence and smart infrastructure. Your business should showcase how apprenticeships in engineering provide practical exposure to these exciting fields and equip apprentices with the skills to contribute to innovation.
Championing diversity and inclusion
Efforts to shape the next generation of engineers must also prioritise diversity and inclusion. They’re not just buzzwords – research consistently shows that businesses with more diverse workforces outperform those with less, and welcoming more diverse talent into your business brings with it the benefit of having more unique perspectives, experiences, and skills which often lead to increased creativity, problem-solving abilities, and innovation.
Develop an apprenticeship scheme that actively recruits individuals from underrepresented communities or from low-income backgrounds, and don’t forget that apprenticeships aren’t just for the young. Remain open minded and promote inclusivity by providing apprenticeships that offer equal opportunities regardless of background, age or other demographic factors and offer supportive environment for all aspiring engineers to ensure you not only attract, but retain the best new talent entering the field.
Showcasing success stories
Another important way businesses can put their best foot forward to potential apprentices this National Apprenticeship Week is sharing success stories and case studies of individuals who have already benefited from an apprenticeship in engineering. Most organisations likely already have a number of individuals who have risen through their ranks since starting off as apprentices, and this week is a valuable opportunity to highlight their achievements. These inspiring stories can serve as motivation for future apprentices and demonstrate the long-term benefits of taking on an apprenticeship in the sector.
National Apprenticeship Week 2024 provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the role of engineering apprenticeships, inspire young individuals to pursue careers in the field and contribute to solving the complex modern challenges many businesses face. NRL also looks forward to taking part throughout the week, and if you’d like to learn more about the ways we can help your business secure access to the next generation of aspiring professionals, please feel free to get in touch with our team.