“It’s time to identify and foster young talent” said Sir Michael Ryan CBE, Chair of The Aerospace Growth Partnership at the ADS ‘Apprenticeship Unlocked’ webinar which took place yesterday (February 9).

The webinar celebrated National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), and discussed challenges, opportunities and the future of apprenticeships in the aerospace industry. The aim of the hour-long webinar was to showcase ADS’ sectors as offering high-skill, high-wage and high-value apprenticeships.

The event featured both apprentices and industry experts, discussing progress and continued efforts to boost the availability of apprenticeship schemes. Speakers praised NAW for raising awareness of workforce development, with access to the right skills to achieve transformation of UK industry. Currently there are almost 20,000 young people undertaking apprenticeships within aerospace and defence.

“Aiming for 20,000 new apprentices by 2030”

Michael Ryan CBE said the aim was to ensure that the number of apprenticeships on offer would continue at a stable or increased level: “By 2030, we are aiming for 20,000 new apprentices to be in the industry. The likes of the Airbus factories, the legendary pioneers of Rolls-Royce and the fledging innovators like Vertical Aerospace have continued to keep the UK at the forefront of global aviation, and the opportunities for young people are immense.”

“We currently have a massive challenge to keep the industry relevant with sustainability in mind, having visibility of the pathways, developments and programmes in place. It’s just a case of talking up our industry and increasing that desire for the sector.”

Challenges, opportunities and the future

Paul Shakspeare, Consultant of Education & Skills at High Value Manufacturing Catapult, outlined the potential challenges and opportunities. “Change is changing quicker – young people need to be trained to learn through life rather than learn through education. These emerging skills, such as lessons learnt and applied, are all opportunities to be grasped at with both hands. Combating that with the short timescales and the parallel funded programmes are all current challenges.”

“And let’s look at the future, collectively we need to update the aerospace sector’s skills priorities in line with the revised technology. That is an urgency in my eyes.”

Missed the webinar? Catch the whole session here.

Picture: UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKROC)

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