We need to shout about how good Apprenticeships are!

Chloe Reeve, Technical Co-ordinator at the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), reveals why she’s backing the annual In-Comm Training Awards.

I suppose I’ve been there, done the course and got the t-shirt, having completed a general engineering Apprenticeship last year.

You don’t hear that much about this type of learning opportunity at school or college, everything is more geared towards getting the necessary grades to apply for University, even if you’re perhaps more practically minded.

That’s a real shame as I think lots of young people out there are missing out on realising their full potential, instead choosing to do what ticks the boxes and keeps their parents/teachers happy.

I’m certainly glad I chose the Apprenticeship route. It has given me a fantastic start to my career and I already have the best part of four years’ experience under my belt and no major debt weighing me down.

ETG has been phenomenal and I feel it’s important that you find the right company who believe in you and see you as a future answer to their skills requirement and not just a bit of cheap labour.

The support I’ve received throughout my apprenticeship has been incredible and now I’m starting to pay that time and monetary investment back in my role as Technical Co-ordinator.

This involves learning about all the Quaser, Chiron, Hardinge Bridgeport and Nakamura CNC machines we sell, as well as the ancillary technology and automation that goes with them.

I then travel the length and breadth of the country passing on this knowledge to our customers so they can get the most out of their machines. Often, I’m training men and women that are twice my age, but they don’t care as they quickly see I know what I’m doing and what I’m telling them is going to benefit their business and day-to-day job.

I’ve also recently been given the responsibility of leading ETG’s membership of the In-Comm Training and Manufacturing Group and supporting the development of our technical academies.

This role meant I was invited to be one of the judges on the In-Comm Training Awards, which I’m very proud of.

We’ve just had the big ‘judging day’, where we got to run our eyes over 90 applications and discuss who should be the winner in the eight different categories, ranging from Learner of the Year to Best Employer and Ambassador.

What really impressed us all was the technical quality of the entrants and the impact the apprentices were having on the companies they work for, many saving their firms money, solving production bottlenecks or helping introduce new ways of doing things.

There were also a very healthy number of female engineers who had been nominated, which was good to see. Getting more women into engineering is something I’m extremely passionate about – we tend to be very good at solving problems so should be an ideal fit for industry.

However, by far the best thing about the In-Comm Training Awards is the fact we are actually shouting load and proud about Apprenticeships and what they can do for the individual and for the company.

We need to be louder, we need to be incessant in how we showcase engineering and manufacturing… the technology, the creativity, the fantastic career opportunities that exist.

Only then will young people be given a full understanding of all the different learning routes open to them. Fortunately, I didn’t miss out, let’s make sure we’re not missing out on any other engineers of the future.