Importance of Apprenticeships Apparent

On 24 June, the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon David Cameron MP, announced a new initiative which will help create 100,000 registered Engineering Technicians by 2018. The initiative has been created by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Gatsby Foundation in response to the emerging skills gap in the engineering and construction sectors.

Current estimates suggest that the UK needs to double the pipeline of new recruits into engineering, construction and manufacturing professions by 2020 to avoid a severe skills shortage, which could inhibit the growth of these vital UK sectors.

The Prime Minister met apprentices from a number of leading manufacturing and construction companies, including Caterpillar. Peterlee's first female Apprentice Vicky English attended the event at Downing Street on behalf of Caterpillar, representing the company's commitment to developing engineering excellence.

Vicky is one of Peterlee's Auto Electrical Apprentices and has just registered to become an Apprentice Ambassador for National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). Caterpillar Peterlee also recently announced their Advanced Apprenticeship program has been formally accredited by IMechE.

The accreditation will be announced by Denis Healy, Business Development Manager from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, who will issue the apprentices with a certificate on Wednesday 10th July 2013. This recognition will include apprentices from disciplines such as Fabrication and Welding, Auto Electrical, Maintenance and Tool Room.

The current apprenticeship program at Caterpillar Peterlee has been active for seven years and this accreditation now gives the company professional backing and reinforces the high standard of the advanced apprenticeship program.

Fred Felton, Apprentice Manager, said, "It is a fantastic achievement to be formally recognised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. It's an endorsement of the Apprenticeship scheme we run here at our Peterlee plant and is recognition for all the teams involved in delivering first-class training and development to aspiring young engineers of the future."

Mr Cameron said: "Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race."

Caterpillar is a strong advocate of apprenticeships with long-standing and successful schemes employing hundreds of apprentices across its UK businesses. In 2012, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) recognised Caterpillar Peterlee as having the best apprenticeship program in the North East region. Caterpillar Peterlee is looking to take on more apprentices in September 2013 to continue their sustainable talent pipeline and add strength to their existing talent.