Finding solutions to the critical skills gap is one of the largest factors effecting future growth in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. With the industry consistently reporting on more than 1,000 vacancies, apprenticeships are an exceptionally important pathway and offer real career opportunities.
Jeff Lewis, chief executive and managing director of Raytheon, explained, “Apprenticeships are really important to the defence sector, because they give the opportunity for people in the early parts of their careers to join the sector, learn and develop on the job while gaining some academic qualification in parallel.”
Offering apprenticeships also enables businesses to provide employment to their local communities and give back to the local economy. For the apprentice, the biggest benefit is to learn and apply that knowledge simultaneously, as well as having freedom in their role to develop those skills and use their initiative on a daily basis.
Katie Lee, paralegal apprentice at Raytheon UK, commented, “The advantages are insane. I’ve got an amazing team around me to support me and teach me every single day. I’ve probably got more contact teaching hours at work that I would have if I’d gone to university.”
A collective approach is required between industry, government and academia to tackle the challenge of the workforce supply gap, which is something that ADS Group – the UK trade association advancing leadership in aerospace, security, defence and space – is focused on.
It has set out 10 key recommendations on skills and future workforce, which includes changes to the apprenticeship levy, according to Nicola Green, marketing manager and skills engagement, ADS Group. “With these reforms, we can help to increase the apprenticeship uptake and also start to deal with the critical skills gap,” she said.
ADS Group recently held an apprenticeship reception at the House of Commons that aimed to celebrate apprentices as well as provide a platform for them to engage with MPs and industry on the importance of apprenticeships to the UK workforce. Read more on that here.