A NEW initiative to prepare pupils from South Yorkshire schools for a career in engineering has been paying dividends.
The Work-wise initiative has been hailed as “the ultimate job interview”.
It aims to give pupils a taste of working life and a better understanding of the skills they will need, while also showing them that apprenticeships could offer a far cheaper route to university qualifications.
Employers involved with Work-wise commit to offering a range of planned and structured activities for young people, including work experience, industry visits and challenges to improve their understanding of engineering.
The hope is that at the end of their Work-wise experience, pupils will be offered an apprenticeship with the firm they were placed with and, failing that, they will have a record of their experience which they can take to other potential employers.
Companies that have found that Work-wise is providing a talent pool for apprenticeships include Rotherham-based advanced contract manufacturer Newburgh Engineering.
Managing director Vince Middleton, who is a co founder of Work-wise, says manufacturers needed one route to enable them to engage with schools, provide meaningful work experience, assess the future employability of young people, and provide guidance where needed.
“The ‘hands on’ approach also helps equip young individuals with the skills and attitude necessary to get a job straight from school, living up to the Work-wise description as the ultimate interview,” said Mr Middleton.
Newburgh’s Work-wise successes include Ryan Froggatt and Adam Flood.
Following a Work-wise placement, Ryan secured a place on Newburgh’s New ERA advanced apprenticeship programme and is currently studying at Brinsworth Academy of Engineering.
Adam now works for Newburgh’s Sizer Pelleting Solutions business and is currently studying for qualifications in mechanical maintenance. He said: “The Work-wise programme gave me hands on experience at the job and made me feel comfortable within the working environment.”
Newburgh’s apprentice training instructor Andy Millward, said: “The future of many engineering firms depends on the training and recruitment of the younger generation. Our apprenticeships are tailored to the individual, so we look at what interests them and what they are good at.”
As well as managing the apprenticeship scheme at Newburgh Mr Millward also mentors other companies that want to use the Work-wise programme as a route to securing good apprentices.