Firm puts faith in six of the best
AN Immingham-based engineering company has strengthened its commitment to apprenticeships as it attempts to address the growing skills shortage within the sector.
Online Design & Engineering, which is based on Pelham Road, has taken on six local youngsters as apprentice draughtspeople – the first intake of what is planned to be an annual programme.
Although the company – which employs several hundred people both directly at three offices in Immingham and Hull, as well as on an agency basis for the big Humber Bank firms – has trained staff in-house before, this move represents the biggest commitment yet to building up its own workforce.
Business development and agency manager Phil Ronson said: "Engineering is an industry the world can't do without. It is a fantastic career and something that we as a country have not pushed enough over the past two decades. We are at a point where we are up to the gunnels with work but we are struggling to find the people to do it.
"We looked at the age range of our own workers and we realised we had to do something about it.
"We have trained our own staff before, but this is taking it to another level. We have got to try and build up the workforce for the years to come."
The three-year apprenticeships are being part-funded by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) with teaching being delivered by the Grimsby Institute.
The apprentices will spend their first year on the shop floor at Catch in Stallingborough, learn the various disciplines of engineering, from piping and mechanical to structural, civil, instrumental and electrical, before working in one of Online's offices during year two.
They applied for apprenticeships after attending an open night at Catch at the beginning of this year.
Matthew Rispin, 16, of Waltham, who left Humberston Academy in the summer, said: "In Year 10, I went on work experience at Jex Engineering. I did one week on the shop floor and a week in the drawing office and I preferred the drawing office.
"I was delighted to get on the apprenticeship programme. Online cover so many areas so there are a lot of open doors."
Reece Holberry, 16, of Cleethorpes, who also went to Humberston Academy, said: "I did work experience at Jacobs LES and covered all the disciplines of engineering, and I preferred the draughtsman side of things. I'm looking forward to experiencing working life rather than just going to college and sitting in a classroom. The apprenticeship route is definitely a good career option."
Mr Ronson added: "If they show the right commitment these young people can go and do a degree. They will get that opportunity. They could end up project engineers and project managers."
Mr Ronson and colleagues are also taking part in engineering roadshows to promote the profession in schools.
One of the first intake of apprentices, Terri-Lee Brewster, is female and Mr Ronson is keen to attract more girls to engineering.
He said: "When we've gone to the schools and colleges we have been overwhelmed with the response we've had from young ladies and we want to build on that even more."
Don't miss all the latest career moves in October's 36-page Business Telegraph, out on Tuesday.