Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Youngsters Need to Be Told Value of Apprentice Training

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Youngsters Need to Be Told Value of Apprentice Training

Article excerpt

CALLS have been made for better careers advice for youngsters to help them realise the benefits of apprenticeships.

A business leader from the North East has said schoolchildren need to be better informed from a young age to aid them in choosing a vocational path.

When Andrew Esson, managing director of North Shields-based Quick Hydraulics, took over the business in 2011 he sought about assessing the way in which he sought new staff.

Identifying a worrying lack of skilled manufacturing engineers, he set about changing Quick Hydraulics' approach to staffing.

He said: "When I bought the business I found it was difficult to recruit hydraulic engineers.

"We have a 32-year-old engineer who was the last remaining apprentice who joined 16 years before and there had only been one apprentice after that who has left.

"Taking the long-term view, everyone recognises there is a shortage of engineering skills so we have to take control of our own destiny and grow our own talent."

But he also discovered what he described as a lost generation of children who are unable to enter engineering sector apprenticeships because they don't have the relevant qualifications.

He said: "At the moment we have a lost generation of kids who are now no longer kids who have gone through the education system and done qualifications that are unsuitable for engineering and are pushing them towards a service-based economy.

"Now we have got the second last generation coming up to retirement age so we have got a bit of a perfect storm on skills. We have generations of kids who haven't come into engineering and all these companies trying to expand.

"There's not a lot we can do about the lost generation but we can about future generations."

Mr Esson believes youngsters need to be given guidance and advice at a young age about the exciting career prospects that could be available to young people who go down the route of an apprenticeship. This, he says, will allow them to make choices about subjects at an early enough stage that will give them the option of certain engineering apprenticeships down the line. …

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