Research conducted by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) shows that only 8% of school leavers are being advised to seek apprenticeships! Due to this, employers feel that schools are not preparing students with the correct skill set to pursue an electrotechnical/engineering career.
At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we fully support apprenticeships and have hired a number of apprentices throughout our 38 years of service. Our Managing Director completed a City & Guilds apprenticeship back in 1975 and has been the owner of his own company since 1981. Therefore, it goes to show how far an apprenticeship can take you! Unfortunately, apprenticeships are often perceived as the ‘easy’ and ‘low-paying’ career route.
According to the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) over half of employers said that apprentices often had unsatisfactory attitudes, a lack of knowledge, and qualifications. Employers also expressed concerns that schools are not teaching students basic electrical principles within their physics lessons. Furthermore, this lack of electrical theory and knowledge could be discouraging students to pursue a career within the electrical field.
School leavers also appear to be lacking in basic maths skills, oral and written English communication, and having a decent work ethic. Therefore they show a lack of respect to employers through poor timekeeping.
The ECA and TESP are aiming to encourage students into the electrotechnical sector by launching a series of programmes. This will include enhancing the electrical careers website, promoting work experience opportunities, and encouraging industry experts to become part-time lecturers. They aim to close the gap between education and the electrical industry through engagement with employers and local schools.
There is a lack of good candidates applying to train within the sector, therefore its important to start eliminating this stigma surrounding apprenticeships. University is not the route for everyone, and working as an electrician can be a rewarding, fulfilling, and well-paying career. Furthermore, apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to gain work experience, recognised qualifications, and even more importantly to earn some money!
What are your thoughts on apprenticeships? Do you think electrotechnical should be recognised as an academic subject?
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