25 June, 2024

Young futures turn the cogs at leading engineering company adi Group

07 December, 2020

Twelve youngsters have enrolled on an engineering pre-apprenticeship scheme in Birmingham. The course will give the students hands-on experience and understanding of mechanical and electrical engineering at a time when skills development is at a premium.

Engineering business, adi Group, has taken on its latest cohort of apprentices from nearby North Bromsgrove High School, with which it has a long-standing relationship.

Claimed to be the first-of-its-kind mentorship programme, it began life in 2016 aiming to inspire 14-16 year-old GCSE students and give them a core understanding of engineering at adi’s custom-built workshops.

The course, which lasts two years, takes up roughly 10% of the students’ curriculum time and rewards achieving youngsters with an EAL accredited qualification and the prospect of moving on to adi’s more senior apprenticeship programme.

Group strategic account director, James Sopwith, spoke of the challenges and rewards of the scheme amid the pandemic: “During these difficult times, it is superb to be able to continue our pre-apprenticeship, despite the restrictions we need to apply when the students are with us. It is a great credit to the mutual relationship we have with North Bromsgrove High School that has allowed us to carry on in 2020/21, when so many other schemes have had to halt. This cohort brings the number of students who have benefited from our two-year course to 60, which again is a big milestone for us.”

Hope and encouragement

Discussing apprenticeships at a time when skills development is making national headlines, adi Group founder and CEO, Alan Lusty (pictured), says: “Our philosophy really has been to keep giving these youngsters hope, encouragement and a grounding in the exciting work available in engineering, despite these uncertain times. We simply couldn’t cut the supply chain, not when the industry still has a lot of work to do to make up for its well-publicised shortfall in STEM careers.

“With each new year of student intake, I’m revitalised and reminded of how I began my career as an apprentice, and I’m excited to see it take shape with the generation of today. I look forward to seeing their progress.”

The adi Group recently celebrated the graduation of last year’s crop of budding engineers from its pre-apprenticeship programme, with four distinctions and eight merits among the esteemed group. The news is a welcome refresher of the national discourse, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently citing construction, engineering, mechanics and laboratory work as areas where there is a shortage of skilled labour.

Sustainable future

However, with the cogs continuing to turn at adi Group, which counts the likes of Coca-Cola, Cadbury and BAE Systems among its client ranks, Sopwith is confident that schemes such as the pre-apprenticeship programme can help steer the industry to a sustainable future: “What we have always done is focus on tomorrow,” he says.

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