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Vocational Training Initiatives and Helpful Organisations

Career Management for Engineers


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…

Listed below are details about a number of sources of practical help, initiatives and organisations ideal for improving skill levels and accessing training programmes. Website links have also been supplied to help you find out more.

As this website is UK based, so are the initiatives. As ever, any equivalent information from overseas would be really welcome. You may also consider getting in contact with local colleges and universities about work experience, placements, internships and scholarships.


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…

Vocational Training at Local Colleges

Consider contacting colleges in your area to see the range of practical training they offer. Their websites will provide lists of courses and programmes. Some of them will be applicable to your business, potentially raising skill levels and productivity. As well as short courses, more in-depth training is available to nationally recognised standards. Certified practical training qualifications are offered by most colleges.

See the Qualification Advice section for comprehensive guidance. Particularly relevant are the National Vocational Qualifications – NVQs, Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma - HNC and HND and Foundation Degrees. Training at local colleges minimises the time away from your workplace. Also local training providers often better understand the needs of companies in the area, as well as the local economy and skills-base. Day release (for 1 day per week) is common, allowing the impact on productivity to be managed. Evening classes or night school are also options.


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…


Apprenticeships, provided by the National Apprenticeship Service, enable companies to develop the skills they require. Apprentices train and learn on the job, building up their skills and undertaking real work. The apprentice earns a fair wage (normally less than the cost of recruiting somebody at the market rate) whilst working towards a nationally recognised qualification, typically on day release at college. Apprentices can be any age, from young people gaining new skills, to more mature candidates’ re-skilling and changing career.

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industry and commercial sectors. Engineering and manufacturing technologies are worthy of note (click here). Apprenticeships can be undertaken at three levels – intermediate, advanced and higher. Once an apprenticeship has been completed, many candidates go on to gain further qualifications and take more senior positions within the company.

There is currently a growing appreciation of the value of apprenticeships. This is long overview. For many, they offer a debt-free alternative to university, where candidates rapidly accelerate their careers due to their real world knowledge and application of expertise in the workplace.

The quality, depth and duration of apprenticeship are important. Fortunately the host company can influence the structure of the apprenticeship, ensuring the applicant gets the right skills. For small manufacturers, apprenticeship grants are available. This removes some of the financial risk. Current apprenticeship vacancies are listed on the National Apprenticeship Service website for forward looking businesses who have invested in their future. If you haven’t done so already – shouldn’t you be?


Apprenticeships: Good for Business (Courtesy of the National Apprenticeship Service) 

An Apprenticeship at a Small Manufacturing Company (Courtesy of the National Apprenticeship Service, Lawtronic Control Systems and Sheer Productions)

Rate My Apprenticeship is an excellent website for finding out about the range of apprenticeships out there and how the apprentices themselves rate them. It enables the schemes to be compared with answers to standard questions, as well as providing additional information about the host company, salary and other relevant details.

Rate My Apprenticeship also covers School Leaver Programmes as well as other school leaver opportunities such as Traineeships, Sponsored Degree Programmes, Gap Year Programmes and work experience.

Click here or on either image to link through to the schemes relevant to industry, engineering and manufacturing.


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…

City & Guilds

City & Guilds are the largest national provider of vocational education. With a long history, City & Guilds qualifications are widely recognised and respected by major employers. A vast range of City & Guilds qualifications are available in numerous industries including engineering and transport, processing and manufacturing, as well as construction and building. As such, whatever the nature of your business, the likelihood is there will be relevant vocational qualifications available.

City & Guilds offer qualifications at different levels. So depending on experience and staff training needs, there should be a relevant course to take your skills to the next level. City & Guilds vocational qualifications are offered from a network of centres spread across the country. Many of these are local colleges. Why not see what’s available near you?


City & Guilds-based Apprenticeship: An Employers Perspective (Courtesy of Nimloc)


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…

Vocational Training Areas to Consider

To complement the core sources of vocational training featured above, there are several training areas you may wish to consider to raise skill levels, boost productivity or improve your business. Search online or for local providers in the following vocational fields:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Six Sigma
  • Kaizen – Continuous Improvement
  • Risk Assessments
  • Manual Handling
  • Working at Heights
  • Emergency First Aid
  • COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
  • Health & Safety: IOSH – Institution of Occupational Safety & Health
  • Health & Safety: NEBOSH – National Examination Board Occupational Safety & Health


Links to the above sites are provided for your convenience. Advice Manufacturing is not responsible for their contents. In addition inclusion of links does not imply endorsement of any website material, business or organisation.


Apprenticeships Vocational Training Opportunities…

Training Initiatives and Networking Conclusion

Vocational practical training is a crucial part of helping to combat the skills shortage in manufacturing and engineering. As this section demonstrates, there are now various initiatives and programmes available which are attempting to redress the balance. In addition to practical training, qualifications and transferable skills benefit the individual, equipping and preparing them for future work.

Technical businesses (and to some extent, the public) are now re-embracing apprenticeships, as they understand the importance of investing in a strong skills-base both now and in the future. They are reaping the commercial benefits as a result. With the cost of university education, a vocational route into an engineering profession now appears increasingly attractive to young people. The opportunity to earn, learn transferable skills and potentially obtain graduate-level qualifications a little later, is an increasing appealing career option.  

Next... Qualifications Advice: Introduction and Clear Explanation

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