Manufacturing apprenticeships double

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New apprenticeships in engineering and advanced manufacturing have more than doubled in Yorkshire and Humber over the past two years.

The region is one of four leading the way, according to sector skills council Semta.

But, while advanced manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships in Yorkshire and Humber have doubled, the region still has a way to go to catch up with the West Midlands, where numbers trebled.

Semta chief executive Sarah Sillars says there is no room for complacency, however, and fears the country still faces the dual danger of there being a lost generation of potential apprentices and missed opportunities for British business if the momentum is not maintained.

“These figures are extremely encouraging,” said Sarah Sillars.

“These are real jobs, many paying well above the national average, with young people earning as they learn new skills, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels.

“Engineering and manufacturing still has an image problem - we need more teachers and parents to understand apprenticeships will benefit their children and not somebody else’s.

“The sector needs to recruit 82,000 people just to cover retirements up to 2016 so there is a real opportunity for young people. So much more needs to be done to attract them into engineering and advanced manufacturing.”

Ms Sillars says fewer than one in five employers in the sector have or offer apprenticeships.

Meanwhile, 16 to 24 year-olds make up just seven per cent of the advanced manufacturing and engineering workforce, compared to 11 per cent for all sectors.

Women are also under-represented at 20 per cent compared to 49 per cent for all sectors.

“We cannot stress enough how more work needs to be done to educate teachers, parents and even some employers,” she said.