Meeting the needs of tomorrow, today

Published in Industrials on 07 Jun 2012

The Engineering Construction Industry is stuck in a ‘catch 22’ situation. Whilst the current demand for new recruits is quite low, we need to be training people now in anticipation of increased demand for highly skilled workers from 2013 onwards.

There has been a reduction in anticipated levels of nuclear new build as a result of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which forced a global reappraisal of the acceptability of nuclear power, with some countries such as Germany, opting out of nuclear altogether.

Nevertheless the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, supported by anecdotal evidence from the industry, believes that the demand for skills will increase again post 2013, when the annual recruitment rate from this point onwards is likely to be in excess of 5,000 people per year.

Small & medium enterprises apprenticeship inventives

In light of the need to train people now, and the lack of in-scope companies with the capacity to employ apprentices, the ECITB is supporting an initiative launched by the National Apprenticeship Service to encourage small & medium enterprises (SMEs) to take on apprentices in England.

The scheme, Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE), has been backed by the Government and will offer grants of £1,500 to up to 40,000 SMEs prepared to take on their first apprentice.

Wales have a similar initiative – the Young Recruits Programme – that offers up to £2,600 per apprentice. The Scottish Government also plans run employer recruitment incentives.

The ECITB has committed up to half a million pounds of reserves to further incentivise SMEs to take on apprentices through this initiative. Open to those SMEs using the ECITB apprenticeship framework, the ECITB will add additional funding of £1,500 per apprentice.

Through this initiative the industry is investing in the vital skills training the whole of the engineering construction industry needs for the future. From 2013 onwards the ECITB anticipates an increased demand for skilled workers, and that workforce needs to be trained now.

By adding to the Government incentives for out-of-scope SMEs to take apprentices onto the ECITB apprenticeship framework, the industry will be better placed to cope with future demand.

With this additional ECITB and government funding, SMEs taking on an apprentice could receive an extra £3,000 in grant support.

With the standard grant support for in-scope companies, an in-scope SME taking on an apprentice for the first time in three years could receive as much as £13,000 per apprentice. In Wales the figures could be even higher, at £4,100 and £14,100, respectively.

As work picks up, employers will step up their recruitment processes and new contractors will enter the UK market, particularly from Europe.

As new employers become established, contributions to the training levy will increase and more training opportunities will arise, increasing the overall rate of development of the workforce, which can only be a good thing for the sector as a whole.

Until then, this will be a key initiative for securing the vital skills this industry needs for the future.

For more information on this initiative please visit or telephone Don Atkinson, North East Regional Account Manager for ECITB on 07971438720.

Paul Champion

📱: 07540 704920

Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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