As one of the UK’s biggest advocates of apprenticeships, NG Bailey recently opened up its 2015 apprenticeship window and reports that within the first few weeks of opening, there have already been over 1,800 applications for roles across thirteen different specialisms, ranging from electrical engineering to quantity surveying.
Apprentices currently make up more than five per cent of NG Bailey’s total workforce and more than 5,500 people have joined the highly-regarded scheme since it started in 1934. These include school and college leavers as well as those looking for a career change. 81 years on and the commitment to developing skills remains as strong, as the company continues to develop some of the best young talent in the industry.
The success of the scheme continues to bear fruit, with a number of the company’s directors and senior managers having started out as apprentices with NG Bailey.
Frank Clayton, head of group learning and development at NG Bailey, explains: ‘We are incredibly proud of our apprenticeship programme and its strong reputation in the industry. This is one of the biggest intakes in our history, and from the number of applications so far we can see more than ever how much interest there is for apprenticeships as a starting point in a great career.
‘We have noticed a shift in the way young people are approaching their careers and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers can provide great job security, with technical apprenticeships offering a solid start in industry. We have always felt that this is a two-way process – apprentices play a vital role in our company and our business benefits from working with them.’
The vacancies are across the business, including in electrical, heating and ventilation and plumbing, as well as newer schemes in quantity surveying and higher apprenticeships in procurement. NG Bailey invests over £3 million annually in its four-year apprenticeships and employee training and development.
The company has launched a number of initiatives recently aimed at boosting the popularity of science-based subjects, increasing apprenticeship numbers and attracting more women to the construction industry.
Over the last five years, it has exceeded the national average for the number of female apprentices completing programmes in both construction trades and engineering.
David Hurcomb, chief executive at NG Bailey, said: ‘We are proud to say that we have remained committed to our apprenticeship programme, even during the recent tough climate. We recognise the value in giving young people the opportunity to earn while they train, because not only will it benefit our business, it will benefit the overall growth and skills within our industries.
‘As a nation, we need to help young people get excited by STEM subjects if we’re going to address our skills shortages. And this has to happen in schools as well as through apprenticeship schemes.’
As part of this commitment to engage young people, the company has also developed a new schools programme, Inspire. Although in its infancy, it has already engaged with over 500 young people in Leeds and Manchester, helping them get involved in projects that bring to life the breadth of career options available in construction.
With plans to roll-out the initiative to 12 schools nationwide within the next four years, NG Bailey hopes it will encourage participants to seek out construction options at college or university, or apply for an apprenticeship.
For more information on apprenticeships, visit www.ngbailey.com/careers/apprenticeships