UK manufacturers urged to take pledge to protect apprentices

HK Technologies / In-Comm
HK Technologies / In-Comm

A new campaign to ensure apprenticeships are protected as UK manufacturing copes with the Covid-19 pandemic has been launched.

A new campaign to ensure apprenticeships are protected as UK manufacturing copes with the pandemic has been launched.

In-Comm Training, which operates three academies at Aldridge, Bridgnorth and Shropshire, is asking firms in the West Midlands to sign-up to its ‘skills pledge’, which will see them commit to supporting apprentices, raising the profile of vocational learning and upskilling their workforces.

‘Powering the Engine’ will last for over a year and will ensure industry does not sacrifice the investment and time channelled into developing the talent they are going to desperately need to help reignite the economy now that lockdown is starting to ease.

Eight companies have already taken one of the pledges, including Brandauer, CHH Conex, Glassworks Hounsell, Gotronic, Holbourne Industrial Plastics, Kiyokuni Europe, MET Recruitment and Valen Fittings.

Bekki Phillips, managing director of In-Comm Training, explained: “The impact of Covid-19 has turned the economy upside down and many firms are trying to work out how they navigate their way through the crisis, making a lot of tough decisions in the process.

“We had noticed that a few firms were starting to let their apprentices go due to cost-cutting and wanted to address this before it becomes a major issue for young people and for an economy that is staring at a major talent drain.”

She continued: “There has been too much progress made in bridging the skills gap for us to just sit back and watch this happen, so we’ve decided to do something about it by launching the In-Comm Training Skills Pledge.

Companies can sign-up for one, two or all three of the options and in return In-Comm offers a range of tangible incentives and its own commitment to lobby government on their behalf, securing as much assistance as possible to support skills development.

The three pledges for the campaign include:


  • Apprenticeship Ambassadors – the company and an apprentice will give up one hour of their time to participate in promoting the benefits of apprenticeships

  • Skills Support for the Workforce – a commitment to put some of its staff through upskilling courses over the next 12 months

  • Apprenticeship Recruitment – to recruit one or more apprentices every year

Companies taking part will receive a specific incentive depending on the pledge they take and these range from a free skills audit and report, to free learning mentor courses and 5% off the cost of upskilling courses (when they cost over £500).

For every firm that signs up, In-Comm has also committed to manufacturing five visors for the NHS or local care homes.

Ms Phillips concluded: “We want to get people talking about skills and highlighting the huge benefits apprentices can bring to the bottom line of a business, regardless of which sectors they operate in.

“This could be through social media campaigns, taking part in virtual networking, writing thought leadership articles or contributing video case studies. Let’s keep training on the agenda so we continue to have new talent coming through the ranks.

“Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill an existing employee, so they develop new skills and are more flexible to the business. A lot of levy paying companies are still having to shoulder costs so they might as well make the most of the situation.”

In-Comm Training www.in-comm.co.uk/skills-pledge

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