Manufacturing Unites For Future of Apprenticeships

The Conference, which is being run by the TUC as part of Apprenticeship week, will highlight the value that Apprentices can have across the full range of Manufacturing industries, and will feature presentations from the Manufacturing Sector Skills Councils, Proskills (process and manufacturing) and Semta (science, engineering and manufacturing technologies), as well as a speech from John Hayes, the Minister for Skills.

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Terry Watts, chief executive of Proskills said, “Apprentices are crucial for the future of the UK’s economy and will help to ensure that vital skills are not lost from industry as the baton is passed to the next generation. Many companies in Manufacturing have lost the habit of employing Apprentices and still fail to see the great opportunities and benefits that Apprenticeships can offer. Continuous support is needed to help all manufacturing industries realise that they can improve skill levels in their workforce and plan for growth in the future through Apprenticeships”

Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, commented: “Investment in training needs to provide a bottom line return. Apprenticeships do just that. Skills shortages are costing the UK £118 million in lost productivity and 10,000 higher skilled recruits are needed each year to cover growth and retirements.”

The conference will see the launch of a new brochure “Securing the Future of Manufacturing: An Employer Guide to Apprenticeships in England”, which has been developed by the Manufacturing Skills Alliance to give an overview of the benefits that Apprenticeships can have for employers.

Jaine Chisholm Caunt, director of stakeholder & policy from Cogent, said “We are delighted to be involved in developing this guide, and at a time when there is a renewed focus on Apprenticeships and a renaissance in the UK manufacturing industry, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, commented “Unite also wants to see manufacturing companies lead the way and develop the best people with the best skills. We know from experience that using Apprenticeships can help all kinds of businesses develop their staff and maximise productivity. Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of manufacturing and provide vital skills and experiences necessary for people entering the workplace today.”

The Manufacturing Skills Alliance is made up of the five Manufacturing Sector Skills Councils, Proskills, Semta, Cogent, Improve, and Skillset, working together to raise awareness of skill needs of all of the Manufacturing industries in the UK. The new Apprenticeship brochure has been developed in conjunction with the Unite, GMB, and Prospect unions, as well as unionlearn, and will provide a valuable resource for promoting the benefits of raising skills in Manufacturing to companies across the whole sector.

Tony Burke, Unite Assistant General Secretary, said “Unite wants to see more young people and people looking for re-training to look to a career in manufacturing through a skilled apprenticeship. But we need the help of manufacturing employers to ensure they take on more apprentices to avoid a skill shortage for the future.”

Terry Watts continued, “We are delighted to be working with the Unions and unionlearn to help raise awareness of this crucial issue, and we will continue to promote Apprenticeships in our own industries as individual SSCs, and across the whole of the Manufacturing sector through the MSA. Support will be needed for the whole of Manufacturing if we are to help generate greater economic growth and plan for the future.”

For more information on how Proskills can help with apprenticeships please call 01235 833 844 or email