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Apprentices - Accessing untapped talent

'Apprentices - Accessing Untapped Talent” a national WISE and Technician Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC) project, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering

Photo: Role models inspiring girls at the STEMtech Live event in Leeds, January 2015

This project built on the success of the 2013-14 WISE and TAC Build your Future (subsequently Create your Future) project, and ran from September 2014 to March 2016.

A significant number of reports published in advance of this project pointed to the fact that:
  • The STEM sector was facing a huge engineering skills shortage which will inevitably have an effect on the UK’s economic growth
  • Careers guidance for young people, particularly for apprenticeships and STEM subjects, fell woefully short of an acceptable standard
  • There was a need to increase the ethnic, socio-economic and gender diversity of apprentices through accessing the untapped talent that exists in these groups and promoting the opportunities for a career as a professional engineer.

The programme aimed to develop regional hubs to support a sustainable strategy to contribute to a measurable improvement in the applications and uptake of apprenticeships amongst females, ethnic minority groups and those from socially- economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The project built on the experience gained from the earlier projects delivered by the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC) and WISE and consolidated the approach through:
  • Regional expansion
  • Developing and testing a handbook for others to draw on
  • Demonstrating that the approach can be used regionally and in a range of industry sectors.
The project ran in 4 regions – Birmingham (Solihull), Leeds, Manchester and Hull. Each region offered:
  • A training event for role models
  • A teachers’ CPD event
  • A Create your future event for pupils, parents and teachers

More than 30 role models, of which 50% were apprentice trained, took part in the initial 4 regional training events for role models. This was followed by the 4 regional teachers’ CPD events in which 31 schools participated.

Ambassadors commented:

"Gaining more knowledge / facts which can be used to sell engineering as a career."
"Discussion with teachers & STEM Ambassadors."
"Meeting other apprentices."
"Gaining a better understanding about the current issues surrounding engineering."
"Talking about my job. Meeting other
s in a similar position and enjoying it."

Teachers said:

"Absolutely fantastic – after listening to them I wish I had done it as a career."
ow interesting – speakers were excellent- apprentices were fabulous – so enthusiastic...an eye opener..."
"I was blown away by the number of roles in engineering at all levels."
"Great to network with employers."
"Diverse opportunities in engineering - I h
ave gained more knowledge of the vast variety of careers in the industry."

Photo: Attendees at the Manchester Careers Aspiration Event 9th March 2015

WISE Create your Future Events ran in each of the 4 hub regions, attracting a total of 169 students, 14 parents and 23 teachers. WISE delivered each of the events, supported by diverse role models. Events offered information on the wide variety of roles available within the STEM sector, the types of people employed in them and the range of routes and pathways into these careers – in particular apprenticeship routes.

Opportunities for employers to further support schools through their ambassadors was made available and WISE hubs were developed in each region to sustain the engagement of employers, ambassadors and schools and to build on this.

Benefits to companies:

  • direct access to schools and potential candidates
  • showcase role models and employment opportunities
  • recruit diverse talent to the apprenticeship pool
  • work with educators to ensure that the full talent pool is available to employers

WISE and TAC supported these hubs through the use of a comprehensive guide and resources and facilitation of the Ambassador Training, Teachers’ Workshops and Discovery Workshops based on the experience gained from their involvement in similar programmes.

Contact us

If you are an employer and would like to be part of a WISE regional hub, please contact the WISE office at info@wisecampaign.org.uk

If you are a teacher, or careers adviser and you would like to engage with employers in your region, and support your pupils to find out more about STEM careers, please contact the WISE office at info@wisecampaign.org.uk. You can also find download the People like me resource to use in your school.

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