Awareness days and awareness weeks are a useful way of highlighting a cause, charity appeal or to celebrate an important part of our community.
This is particularly true of National Apprenticeship Week. To be honest, it feels like every week at Cleveland Bridge is part of a year-long celebration of apprenticeships given their value to the business.
This week, though, is the perfect opportunity to recognise the benefit apprenticeships bring to businesses and their role in creating a long-term sustainable workforce.
Apprenticeships have been at the heart of our workforce development for generations. However, they have become increasingly crucial in recent years as we aim to balance the blend of our long-serving, experienced workforce with an intake of talented and motivated young people looking to carve out a career with Cleveland Bridge.
As a company operating in the construction and engineering industries, Cleveland Bridge are not immune to the challenges that has beset these sectors. In particular the skills gap, created by ageing workforce is very much on our industry radar. However, they remain proactive and optimistic that apprenticeships, along with attracting graduates, are an important part of the jigsaw needed to complete the skills puzzle.
The education system has recognised it needs to focus more on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, and it is the role of companies like Cleveland Bridge to help young people make the link between what they are learning in schools and colleges and the amazing structures we build that they could contribute to with a job at Cleveland Bridge.
They work closely with schools and training providers in their local area and regularly receive a large number of applications when we undertake apprenticeship recruitment, which is always encouraging.
As a member of the 5% Club, Cleveland Bridge are one of more than 250 UK companies committed to providing ‘earn and learn’ opportunities to develop the skills and talents people need for long-term careers. The ethos of the organisation is to encourage members to ensure that five percent of its workforce is made up of apprentices and graduates within a five-year period.
They are proud to say that they are exceeding that target through their award-winning apprenticeship programme, which has set the template for their workforce development activities and is creating opportunities for young people across the business.
Cleveland Bridge currently have 28 apprentices in the business in areas such as engineering, construction, fabrication, maintenance, IT and HR, including high level degree apprentices working toward Chartered Manager and Civil Engineer qualifications.
They hope that this current cohort will follow in the footsteps of many of their previous successful apprentices and go on to secure long-term career opportunities at Cleveland Bridge and across their industry sector.
They are continually proving the value of apprenticeships to their business and they advocate other companies to explore these benefits of this essential part of workforce development to use this important awareness week as a catalyst to addressing future skills challenges. They won’t regret it.