Apprentices meet UK Prime Minister as new scheme launches

A group of apprentices met the UK Prime Minister over the summer to help launch a government supported scheme that will boost the number of skilled engineers.

Freddie Abbott-Howes and Ashok Hemmings from Rolls Royce, The IET's Tony Whitehead, Patrick O'Leary and Seth Roose from NG Bailey Freddie Abbott-Howes and Ashok Hemmings, from Rolls Royce’s civil aerospace team, joined apprentices from other UK companies including Perkins Engines, Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, Halcrow, BBMV, NG Bailey and Mott MacDonald at Downing Street in London. Here, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a joint initiative by the IET, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Architects of the scheme, which aims to register 100,000 extra people with the protected title Engineering Technician (EngTech) in the next five years, hope it will increase skill levels and raise the status of technicians.

The scheme will particularly target apprentices and it’s estimated that registering every new Engineering Technician expected to complete their apprenticeship in the next five years will meet the 100,000 target.

The importance of this scheme

“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.”

Freddie, who is also applying for EngTech status, is a Bloodhound Ambassador. This means that he helps to deliver lessons to schoolchildren about the Bloodhound international education initiative and its headline-grabbing bid to break the land speed record in the world’s first 1,000mph car.

The team behind the Bloodhound project, together with a life-size replica of the car, joined David Cameron and the apprentices at Downing Street.

“This is an inspiring project sponsored 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," he adds.