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Inspiring the Next Generation: Reshaping Manufacturing Careers

Recent research has revealed that a significant proportion of young people, three in five, don’t have any interest in pursuing a career in manufacturing. This is coupled with 41% of manufacturers confessing to taking no proactive measures to attract new talent into the industry

This blog post explores the transformative potential of apprenticeships and improved collaboration in enticing more young people into manufacturing careers.

The Current Challenge

The recent findings from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal a growing skills gap in the manufacturing sector, with 66% of manufacturing companies reporting that they’re struggling to recruit skilled work.

While the manufacturing industry undergoes a shift driven by technology and automation, the widening gap and barriers to entry continue to present a challenge.

The struggle to find skilled workers continues, affecting 66% of manufacturing companies. Engaging with the hearts and minds of young people is key to improving manufacturing recruitment.

Getting Hands-On Experience

Practical hands-on experience is crucial in fostering early engagement with manufacturing and creating opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the industry.

Offering work experience programs, summer camps and on-site visits to younger students can help break down barriers at an earlier stage and provide accessible pathways to manufacturing careers.

Breaking the Stigma

Studies reveal that almost half of students don’t have enough information about a career in manufacturing, highlighting a substantial knowledge gap. Manufacturers need to work with schools and colleges to ensure they have the appropriate industry knowledge to present manufacturing as a viable and attractive career path.

Apprenticeships should form an important part of manufacturing recruitment. However, as we highlighted in our recent blog, far too many young people are overlooking the apprenticeship route. This is primarily because of misconceptions, from both students and their parents, about how they work and the benefits they offer. Parents play a big part in influencing their children’s career paths so changing the narrative around apprenticeships for this audience should be a key priority.

This could include information and education on the wide range of different manufacturing apprenticeships available, the requisite skills and qualifications, and the potential for career progression. By challenging outdated perceptions about both apprenticeships and manufacturing, a career in manufacturing becomes a viable and exciting option.

Getting to Know Each Other Better

Manufacturers could benefit hugely from building stronger partnerships with their local schools, colleges, and universities.

An effective two-way dialogue would provide students with exposure to manufacturing industry professionals and help to ensure that the STEM education delivered is what is really needed by the manufacturing industry.

A recent report by EngineeringUK looked at STEM clubs and and their potential to increase students’ aspirations for engineering and technology careers. Engaging with local schools to help with the design of  STEM club content and share insights on current industry practices and trends can help to make these initiatives more effective.

As the manufacturing sector continues to go through huge amounts of change, apprenticeships and industry & education collaboration emerge as pivotal in bridging the gap and securing the manufacturing workforce of the future.

By expanding entry opportunities, changing perceptions, and fostering industry partnerships, manufacturers can actively engage with the younger generation, inspiring the next wave of talent and contributing to the sustained growth of the manufacturing industry.

Apprenticeships are not just training programs; they are gateways to a brighter future for aspiring individuals and the industry as a whole.

How DriveWorks is Inspiring the Next Generation

DriveWorks has a long history of supporting and inspiring young people. We consider it to be part of our DNA and we’re pleased to be able to take on the role of an “employer influencer”.

Our support for young people covers:

  • introducing careers into STEM subjects at school
  • work experience placements for Year 10 & 11 students
  • a successful university placement program for students in their 3rd year at university and a graduate employment scheme
  • delivering guest university lectures on careers in engineering and computing
  • a certification program for students to learn about automation

Featured Blog

Want to learn more about apprenticeships?

The apprenticeship system in the UK has undergone considerable change and development over recent years, however, a lingering stigma around apprenticeships still exists.

In the blog, we explore the reasons behind this and look at what can be done to break the stigma.