This week (5-11 February) is the 17th National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), with a returning theme of ‘Skills for Life’. The annual celebration of apprenticeships is a great opportunity for employers and organisations to encourage more people to explore the benefits of apprenticeships and showcase rewarding careers.
An apprenticeship is a paid job that includes classroom-based training, leading to a nationally recognised qualification as well as practical on-the-job training.
Apprenticeships are available to people over the age of 16, with no upper age limit, including those early in their career and career-changers. They are offered at qualification levels from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 7, equivalent to a master’s degree.
Many of today’s professionally registered engineers have started their careers as an apprentice and some are involved in apprenticeships as trainers or mentors.
Euan MacLean IEng MIMechE, a Project Engineer at Wood plc developed an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) extracurricular activities at school. His “questioning attitude about how and why things work” led him to pursue a career in engineering. “During my apprenticeship, my welding lecturer drummed professional registration into us at every opportunity he could. After being exposed to some high responsibility roles throughout my apprenticeship, I read up on the criteria for registration with The Welding Institute and my experience at that time. I was a registered Engineering Technician (EngTech) at the age of 19.”
Charlotte Jones BEng (Hons) EngTech MICE had shown interest in engineering as a potential career at school and pursued this by completing a two-week work experience placement. Having felt that university was not the right route for her, the company she had worked at during her placement helped her to apply for an apprenticeship. Having now obtained her degree in engineering, she works as a Senior Consultant at AECOM and supports members of her team through their own apprenticeships and professional qualifications. As a winner of various accolades, including Apprentice of the Year in 2018 as well as a place in the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) UK Top 50 Women in Engineering a year later, she now visits schools promoting opportunities within engineering apprenticeships.
Rebecca Fasham BEng IEng MPWI is a Senior Engineer at Network Rail and began her profession in an apprenticeship and knew that it was an opportunity to have a life-long career in engineering. As the proud recipient of two engineering apprenticeship awards early on in her career, the recognition for someone with limited experience made a positive impact. In her current role, she engages with a wide range of people within the business. “I’ve been introduced to teams and parts of the organisation that I didn’t know existed, and I’ve been with Network Rail for eight years!”
Ryan Tamlin IEng MIMechE developed a passion for engineering from a young age and secured a mechanical engineering apprenticeship based in a coal mine in the Neath Valley, Wales. He has always been enthusiastic about advancing technologies and how they make the “working environment safer and more efficient”. As a Category 2 Inspection Engineer in a busy steelmaking plant at Tata Steel UK, he is “actively involved with the processes and plant required to make steel.”
You can read more about how the Engineering Council is supporting the approval and accreditation of engineering apprenticeships on our website. Recognised programmes listed on the course search database have been either accredited or approved by a professional engineering institution. More engineering apprenticeship news can be found on our website.
Additional apprenticeship information and resources are available on the National Apprenticeships Week website.