Apprentice applications hit record high

The Manufacturing Technology Centre has reported a surge in applications from prospective apprentices, with more than 700 people looking to join its programme.

It says 135 successful candidates are in a talent pool ready to be snapped up by employers who can now take advantage of the recently-announced Government scheme to pay an additional, temporary, six-month bonus of up to £2,000 per learner for companies taking on new apprentices.

David Hughes, managing director of the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, said that incorporating apprenticeships into a training and recruitment strategy offers “great benefits” to any business, with apprenticeships providing a cost effective way to attract enthusiastic, motivated, young talent, while helped by temporary Government funding.

Hughes said: “MTC apprentices are exactly what the industry needs to fill the high tech jobs of the future. Our programme produces apprentices capable of rapidly adding value to their employers, and several of our apprentices have gone on to win awards and accolades in recognition of their exceptional skills.”

MTC employer partner, Coventry-based Arrowsmith Engineering, said taking on apprentices is a “crucial element” of its growth strategy.

Jason Aldridge, managing director at Arrowsmith, said, “Having young, bright people is so important and combining them with experienced staff becomes the life blood of any SME in the sector. Apprentices bring a youthfulness and when they come from a place such as the MTC, they do things the right way and, crucially, have views on how it could work in the future.”

He added: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to make some difficult decisions around our workforce, but we kept our MTC apprentices on board as a result of the value they have brought. They are a credit to themselves and our business.”

Firms can take advantage of a range of funds and financial incentives to support the employment of an apprentice.

UK employers with a payroll of more than £3m can use their apprenticeship levy to cover training costs, while eligible smaller businesses can access a £1m fund created through an exclusive partnership between MTC Apprenticeships and Lloyds Bank.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.