Using your apprentices as ambassadors and role models
Troup Bywaters & Anders are a partnership of consulting building services engineers with eight offices nationwide, employing 210 staff. A key business objective has always been to make a positive difference by giving young people opportunities in professional engineering.
What we did.
We have always invested in young people but in 2012 decided to formally introduce an apprenticeship scheme with a 5-year plan
Our apprenticeship scheme is allowing us to grow our own talent and create leaders of the future. We also saw the apprenticeship scheme as a route to attract more females to the industry and to encourage girls to consider engineering as a career of choice.
Our 5-year plan involves:
- Have apprentices make up 10% of our workforce
- Reduce recruitment agency fees by 30%
- Increase regional coverage
- Increase female apprentice ratio by 50%
- Use the IiP (Investors in People) framework as a vehicle to develop our apprentices.
This would ultimately help us achieve our target to have 30% of our workforce female by 2020.
We set all of our apprentices a target to contact their previous schools and/or colleges to deliver careers talks and hold workshops with young people to talk about the benefits of the apprenticeship route and a career in engineering. Our female apprentices in particular are key to help change the view that ‘engineering is just for boys’.
Last year we increased our effort in the area by 40% and have seen the benefits this year with a higher calibre of candidates applying to our scheme
Activities our apprentices have attended to promote apprenticeship in engineering include:
- Speaking at the House of Commons on an employer funded study
- Speaking at the CIPD People Management Conference on the business benefits of apprenticeships
- Speaking at the Hospital Innovations Conference to help the NHS understand the benefits of apprenticeships
- Speaking at the London Technician Apprenticeship Consortium Induction to share experiences of being an apprentice engineer
- Attendance at nationwide careers events at schools and colleges.
What we learned.
Our first female apprentice joined TB+A in 2012 and since then, through ambassadorial work, we have doubled our intake of women apprentices to 20%. This, in turn, has positively influenced the number of females within our total workforce, currently at 18% and we are on target to have 30% total workforce by 2020 (currently 18.5%).
We have an increase in underrepresented groups, with 30% of apprentices from non-white ethnic backgrounds, increasing our overall workforce demographic to 16%.
We have received national recognition, attracting people to our business and inspiring our people to develop their roles. In 2016 we won:
- National Apprenticeship Medium Employer of the Year
- Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer
- Construction Investing in Talent Best Apprenticeship Scheme
- CIPD People Management Best Apprenticeship Scheme.
And we are awaiting finalist awards ceremonies in 2017 for:
- Best Training Initiative ACE Awards
- Apprentice of the Year ACE Awards
- People Award Construction Excellence Wales Awards.
In 2015, one of our apprentices, Caitlin Stuart, won WISE Apprentice of the Year.