National Apprenticeship Week is about celebrating the achievements of our apprentices and encouraging more budding engineers to jumpstart their career. This year’s theme for the week is Skills For Life.
Skills For Life is about reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career and help businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with skills for the future. We strongly believe in developing a highly skilled workforce to ensure we remain successful in delivering a high-quality service and product to our clients, but also so we can attempt to bridge the skills gap.
Within Cumbria, where our head office is situated, there is currently a well-known skills gap. It is estimated that over the next 10 years the labour force of 45-64 year olds will reduce by 10,000. This is set alongside high levels of youth unemployment in the area. We actively try to recruit young people, attending STEM events, partnering with local colleges, running a Skills Academy, promoting a wide range of apprentice opportunities and supporting local school fairs.
The Shepley Group is currently made up of over 650 employees, and following our latest apprentice additions, over 10% of our total workforce are apprentices in earn-and-learn positions. This is great progress in our mission to develop young adults and enable them to kickstart their career and be involved in interesting projects and deliver activities benefitting their local community.
We are proud of our apprenticeship programme and the development routes available throughout the Company, with apprenticeships available in welding, plating, pipefitting, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, machining and business administration.
We also run a successful Improvership scheme, where current employees who may not have the necessary school qualifications can develop their skills through hands on experience, completing courses to become fully qualified tradespeople.
We believe that giving people the right training and development can open up a wealth of career routes and the proof is in the pudding, as the majority of our directors started as apprentices, with our Managing Director starting as a pipefitting apprentice nearly 30 years ago!