Industry shows its support for National Apprenticeship Week, which is taking place this week (9-13 March).
ICOM director Ross Anderson said: “The only way for us to be able to compete internationally, increase productivity and develop new technologies that work is to improve the skill base of our workforce.
“One way we can do this is to invest in apprenticeships. But simply offering apprenticeships is not enough - we need to attract young people to fill these roles, and that is a more difficult proposition.
“We need to change the status of the qualification compared with a degree – apprenticeships must not be seen as the poor relation to university; they offer an effective way to learn and earn at the same time.”
Mr Anderson said in countries such as Germany, a craft-based qualification or work as an “engineer” is much sought after and highly respected. He says this is why Germany is seen as a country where manufacturing matters and they can compete in the world markets with their exports.
During National Apprenticeship week, ICOM will be highlighting the career profiles of current apprentices and those who started their careers via apprenticeships.
Trend Control Systems plans to showcase the opportunities that its Attitude Apprenticeship Scheme offers to those seeking a challenging career in the building controls industry.
The scheme combines classroom-based learning with on the job experience, and since its launch in 2007 has successfully helped 53 people become fully qualified Level 3 BEMS controls engineers. A further 47 are currently in training.
During the four-year vocational course, an apprentice participates in a structured educational programme that delivers the only nationally recognised award for those wishing to embark on a career in BEMS design, installation and commissioning – the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing BEMS.
Tomas Healy, 26, completed the Attitude Apprenticeship Scheme in 2012 and is now enjoying a career as a Level 2 technical support specialist.
When asked what attracted him to the industry, Mr Healy replied: “I wanted the opportunity to work with new technology, be part of a growing industry and have positive career prospects. The building controls industry ticked all of these boxes and more and, with increasing emphasis being placed on energy efficiency, the demand for BEMS is growing at an incredible rate, so I’m confident that I have a secure career.”