jason lancaster
By Jason Lancaster, Vice Principal on 5 March 2018

I’m an engineer, by training at least. Although I get to spend most of my time working in other subject areas (which is also great, by the way), I always love the chance to return to looking at engineering because I feel like I’ve come back home.

However, having worked nationally, I have recently spent an increasing amount of time talking to employers including other colleges and training providers about the challenges they face in having the amount and quality of staff they need to thrive.

In industries like engineering, construction and others, this situation is sometimes reaching a critical level because of a historic lack of workforce planning and training that has left significant skills gaps across the whole industry.

These industries need tens of thousands of highly skilled staff to be able to keep producing great quality products. More generally, companies in all sectors tell me they need talented new recruits with great skills that they can use to quickly be productive at work. Sound familiar?

As an employer, there are many ways you can get the highly skilled and effective staff you need for your business to be effective. You can have rigorous recruitment policies, pay highly competitive salaries or even head-hunt the people you need.

Sometimes you’ll need to do all of these things. But most companies I speak to tell me that the staff and managers who started with them as an apprentice are very often the most effective people in their businesses.

A combination of really high quality training, learning the job at work and being brought through in the specific company culture often creates highly committed and talented members of staff who make a valuable contribution to the business over many years.

So, if you struggle to plan your succession or if you feel your company risks being damaged by a lack of talent, I’d seriously recommend you looking at a workforce plan that includes apprentices to bring new skills and a fresh approach whilst fitting in with your company’s culture and ethos.

Give it a go - it could be the best decision you make today.