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28TH MAY 2024

Gloucestershire College's Contribution to the Skills of Tomorrow

Employer Training and Apprenticeships
Gloucestershire College's Contribution to the Skills of Tomorrow
Gloucestershire College's Contribution to the Skills of Tomorrow

By Gary Ridgeway, Engineering Manager

In sectors of national importance, such as engineering, the job market is expected to grow significantly through 2030. This expansion demands a diverse skill set, with a strong emphasis on digital, information, technology, and green skills. As automation increases, job roles will evolve, with advanced machinery and robotics reshaping some positions and new methods and processes transforming others.

Addressing the growing demand for engineering roles requires more learners to pursue engineering and technology training through academic, vocational, and apprenticeship pathways. At Gloucestershire College, we collaborate with some of the finest engineering and manufacturing companies in the region, as well as the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), to offer comprehensive training and apprenticeships. These partnerships have allowed us to develop an industry-aligned curriculum that provides high-quality training in state-of-the-art facilities while ensuring convenience for employers.

Our apprentices are immersed in the workplace from day one, typically spending one to two days per week at the college and the rest with their employers. This approach ensures that apprentices bring fresh ideas and skills directly into the workplace. Furthermore, we prepare engineers for real-world challenges through initiatives like the annual Engineering for People Design Challenge by Engineers Without Borders. This competition, integrated into our degree curriculum, aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and covers crucial areas such as water and sanitation, energy, the built environment, transport, waste management, information communications technology, and local industry. This real-life approach broadens our learners' understanding of their impact as engineers on communities and the planet.

Despite the growing need for engineers, there has been a decline in engineering and technology apprenticeships over the past five years. This trend highlights the necessity for increased investment in training, reskilling, and retraining, particularly for roles susceptible to automation.

Diversifying the engineering workforce is essential for companies to recruit the right talent. According to Lightcast’s engineering skills report, if women were represented in engineering at the same rate as the overall workforce (47.7%), there would be approximately 1.8 million more engineers. The same principle applies to improving representation from various socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnic minorities, and individuals with additional needs.

To widen participation and promote careers in engineering, it is crucial to strengthen links between engineering companies, training providers, and communities. Creating local support programs for young people can help ensure a steady flow of skilled talent into the industry. By fostering these connections and supporting diverse talent pipelines, businesses can better prepare for the future and meet their recruitment needs.

In conclusion, the collaboration between Gloucestershire College, regional businesses, and educational institutions like UWE Bristol is pivotal in developing the skills of tomorrow. By investing in comprehensive training programs, fostering real-world problem-solving, and promoting diversity, we can ensure a robust and adaptable engineering workforce ready to meet the challenges of the future.

Engineering Apprenticeships for Business