A Croft apprentice finishes a 3D printed object.
A Croft apprentice finishes a 3D printed object.

It is widely recognised that apprenticeships will play a huge part in addressing the ever increasing skills gap within the manufacturing sector.

With a recent study from Shell Springboard highlighting that a STEM skills gap could cost the UK £6.7bn by 2023 it is more important than ever that business leaders recognise the need to pledge their support to taking on apprentices and developing closer relationships with education providers.

Apprenticeships not only have the potential to shrink the skills gap, but can provide the industry with what it needs; truly qualified candidates with invaluable practical experience using technology they have grown up with. At the same time, they give young people an opportunity to develop a career, encouraging them to actively learn essential hands-on skills, while providing an academic framework to ensure a rounded education.

Apprentices bring fresh insights, ideas and experiences that can help strengthen existing teams and futureproof a business by widening its pool of knowledge. From a new technique learned or an innate understanding of the latest technology to the ability to write code, their differing abilities will mean they can often teach as well as learn.

However, in order to make the most of this knowledge and move apprenticeships from a model used by some to a role offered as standard, the industry needs to take responsibility and we as manufacturers need to acknowledge that the solution to overcoming the skills gap lies in our hands. 

This story is reprinted from material from Croft, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.