Recent research from the British Chambers of Commerce showed just 20% of UK businesses taking on an apprentice between March 2010 and April 2011, with 15% planning to hire more over the next year.

Statistics like this make news that automation specialist TGW is planning to take on five engineering apprentices this year all the more encouraging.

Nathan Goudie, LTS manager, TGW explains: “An apprenticeship was how I got my start. I really enjoyed it and gained a lot of skill and knowledge and there is a real desire to give something back and provide opportunities for youngsters who are coming through”.

“And of course, it is protecting the future of our business. Plus, we are offering quite unique opportunities, those who graduate could work at our offices throughout the world.”

The initiative is in two streams. TGW will recruit an apprentice to be a solutions designer, carrying out CAD work. In the service and support area the firm will take on three PLC engineers providing remote support and writing code. In next year’s in-take, TGW plans to focus on field-engineering based apprentices.

TGW is focusing on 16-17 year olds, fresh out of school, working from offices in Market Harborough and studying in college in Leicester one day a week. The 3/4 year PLC engineering apprenticeships, will involve electrical practical skills, as well as software and electrical design, offering distinct skill sets. These are very involved and technical apprenticeships which will provide a very solid grounding for a longstanding career.

“As a growing business, finding the right kind of talent in the market is becoming more difficult and expensive. We want people to help grow the business and move it forward and apprenticeships allows us to build in succession planning,” says Goudie.

“We have lots of knowledge and a lot of experience. We don’t want to lose that pool of knowledge when people retire.”

TGW anticipates the apprentices will be productive after six months, when there will be small tasks they can work on. After 12 months, it is anticipated the apprentices will work on parts of projects under supervision which can then be integrated into the main design.

The company sees poaching as a concern but not to the extent that it makes the scheme unsound. “Staff who are treated well and are well trained tend to stay with their employers”.

Goudie adds: “The key is getting them at 16 or 17 as a good chunk of the schooling costs are assisted by the Government. We’ve also been working closely with the college on pre-screening, trying to identify people who are genuinely excited by engineering.”

TGW Limited

Tel: 01858 468855

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