Street CraneXpress develops future talent through Apprenticeships with the AMRC

29th October 2015

Analysis by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that half of the UK’s entire workforce is due to retire by 2020 and the UK will need more than a million newly qualified engineers to fill engineering positions. So how can the industry meet this demand and source new talent?

Street CraneXpress is helping to revitalise engineering apprenticeships, opening its doors to a younger workforce through a tailored apprenticeship scheme. All apprenticeships include a professional mentoring programme and the enrolment of new recruits at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).Apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre

The new training facility provides practical and academic training to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry. It is seen as a provider of choice for many employers including big name organisations such as Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Tata Steel and National Grid, offering cutting-edge technology including virtual reality welding machines and robotics.

Ray Fletcher, Director of SCX said, “We wanted to create a steadfast career path for budding engineers and nurture their abilities through industry-leading facilities and education. The AMRC Training Facility offers qualifications all the way up to Level 5 (foundation degree) so it provides a better structure for apprentices as they can complete all their education in one place. Apprenticeships help to create an infrastructure of skilled people to satisfy our plans for growth and ensure that we have a process in place to meet demands for the future.”

Under the new four-year SCX apprenticeship scheme, recruits spend the first six months of their apprenticeship at the AMRC enrolled in intensive college training five days a week. Following the initial 26 week period, apprentices then work on the job with SCX four days a week with a one day-release to complete their studies. All SCX apprentices study both mechanical and electrical engineering – with years 1 & 2 studying for a BTEC Level 3 and NVQ Level 3, and years 3 & 4 studying for a HNC. During their apprenticeship, apprentices undertake mandatory health & safety training, working at heights and crane related training, whilst rotating through the different areas of the business. Previous apprentices have gone on to a wide variety of engineering roles within the company, from Crane Service to Electrical Controls & Instrumentation.

Learning on the job“We assign a different engineer as a mentor to our apprentices every few months in order to provide them with a rounded skill set. All our mentor engineers volunteer for the role; they are all keen to pass their wealth of knowledge, experience and skills on to our apprentices,” said Fletcher.

During the course of their apprenticeship, apprentices are given more demanding, challenging and rewarding tasks, both at the AMRC and on the job, “Depending on what our apprentices find an aptitude for, they can then specialise in different areas and pick up a variety of roles within the company. Some of our previous apprentices have now filled positions within the company ranging from Site/Project Installation Engineer to office-based Electrical Controls & Instrumentation Engineer,” he added.

James Mountain, 19, has been an apprentice with SCX for one and a half years and has recently earned his Level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). “The mixture of mechanical and electrical-based learning has created a solid platform that has allowed me to pick up more skills. It’s always hands-on and I love the practical feel to it, it’s challenging at times but that’s what makes it rewarding. I am really interested in the electrical side of the business and I like the fact that we have mentors who take a real interest in our development” he said.

An apprentice in his third year, Daniel Young, 21, is undertaking his Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HCN) and believes his apprenticeship is “a brilliant opportunity that has given (him) many new skills and valuable on the job training whilst being paid at the same time and securing a job at the end of it. It’s good to know that if you are unsure or make a mistake there is a mentor to help and guide you through each step.”

Street CraneXpress are continuing to recruit even more apprentices in the new year, but all applications must go through the AMRC Training Centre and pass their vigilant assessment process.