Engineering apprentices from across the UK met the Prime Minister earlier in the summer to help launch a government scheme that will boost the number of skilled engineers.
Apprentices from companies including Perkins Engines, Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, Halcrow, BBMV, NG Bailey and Mott MacDonald came together at Downing Street in London to hear Prime Minister David Cameron announce a joint initiative by the IET, IMechE and ICE, which aims to register 100,000 extra people with the title Engineering Technician (EngTech) in the next five years.
The hope is that the project will increase skill levels and raise the status of technicians. The scheme particularly targets apprentices and it’s estimated that registering every new Engineering Technician expected to complete their apprenticeship in the next five years would meet the 100,000 target.
Freddie Abbott-Howes and Ashok Hemmings, higher apprentices from Rolls-Royce’s civil aerospace team, were just two of the attendees.
“It was quite an honour to meet the Prime Minister and he asked me about my work as an apprentice,” says Ashok. “It’s important to get more young people involved in engineering through schemes such as this. When I was at school, apprenticeships weren’t really talked about as an option for further education but they offer great advantages in terms of on-the-job training.”
The announcement was made alongside the full-size replica of the British Bloodhound Super Sonic Car making its first visit to Downing Street. The 13m jet-and-rocket propelled car aims not only to beat the current land speed record of 763mph in 2014, but also to be the first land vehicle to exceed 1,000mph by 2015.
The Bloodhound SSC project was launched in 2008 to help inspire the next generation of British engineers and scientists.
Freddie, who is currently applying for EngTech status, is also a BLOODHOUND ambassador, which means he helps to deliver lessons to schoolchildren about the BLOODHOUND initiative and its bid to break the land speed record.
“This is an inspiring project supported by Rolls-Royce and I’m excited to be a part of it,” says Freddie. “I’ve already taken part in lessons with schoolchildren in Nottingham with more to come.”