CEO visits Number 10
Andy Robinson, CEO of PSJ Fabrications’ parent company, The Automated Technology Group, visited 10 Downing Street recently as part of a delegation convened to discuss higher-level apprenticeships.
Through the Academy, its dedicated training programme, the group employs a total of 47 apprentices, making it a leading light in the promotion of apprenticeships among SMEs. Invited to attend through membership of the trade organisation ESCO – the Electronic Systems Council – Andy was asked to give his opinion on how to extend the scope of the government’s Trailblazer apprenticeships programme to include higher levels of academic attainment.
ESCO has been actively campaigning for such an extension, which the government announced late last year would indeed go ahead, bringing Level 6 (Bachelor’s Degree) and Level 7 (Master’s) within the scheme and thereby enabling much broader appeal for companies focused on these higher levels of recruitment. Following this announcement, ESCO has been working on the development of a Graduate Apprenticeship model and convened the meeting of industrial, academic and public sector representatives at No. 10 on 23rd January to discuss how to take the programme forward.
Explained Andy, “The skills agenda is extremely important for engineering companies such as The Automated Technology Group. The future of our industry depends on the generation of new technologies that secure competitive advantage for the UK. This kind of innovation requires skills at the highest level in industry. The UK,” continued Andy, “suffers from a recognised gap between discovery and commercial exploitation; this is the gap that we aim to close with the higher-level apprenticeships.”
At the meeting, Government Co-Chair, Baroness Neville-Rolfe (pictured above, with Andy Robinson), outlined bold plans for a target intake of 150 graduate apprentices this September, with at least 10% coming from SMEs. With a high level of commitment around the table in Downing Street, ESCO believes this is achievable.