Port group urges businesses to take on apprentices

New apprentices at PD Ports, Jack Beckley, James Toward and Bradley Jenkins.

Port group urges businesses to take on apprentices

PD Ports is calling on its fellow employers to help plug the engineering skills gap, as it celebrates 15 years of apprenticeships.

To mark Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, (6–10 November), PD Ports is highlighting the value that young people can bring to any business.

Last month PD Ports welcomed three new engineering apprentices and now urges other businesses to follow suit after the latest stats from the Department for Education revealed a 61% year-on-year drop in new apprenticeships.

Russ McCallion, HR director at PD Ports, says more employers need to invest in young people to plug the 186,000 people with engineering skills needed annually by 2040, according to projections from the University of Warwick and EngineeringUK.

Between May and July, the number of new apprentices across the UK fell from 113,000 to 43,000 year-on-year despite the introduction of The Apprenticeship Levy.

Before the end of 2017, PD Ports will recruit a further 13 apprentices across multiple disciplines including engineering, human resources, accountancy and transport & logistics. 

Mr McCallion, said: “52% of our engineering team started their career with PD Ports as an apprentice, which is a very clear demonstration of our long-term commitment to providing young people with high quality career opportunities. Skilled apprentices are vital building blocks in a progressive, innovative and resilient business. We have some exceptionally talented individuals at PD Ports.

“We are using Tomorrow’s Engineers Week as a platform to highlight the importance of apprenticeships and to urge businesses across multiple sectors to support the next generation of young people. The introduction of the levy is still very much in its infancy so I would be cautious of reading too much into the statistics at this early stage but we do need to see greater engagement with employers and a simplified process to access the benefits of the levy.”

According to a YouGov poll in August, just 8% of students aged 15-18 attending college in 2016/17 were advised to seek work-based apprenticeships while 85% were encouraged to go into further education.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced by the government on 6 April 2017 to help fund three million new apprenticeships by 2020, and requires all employers of an annual pay bill of £3m upwards to contribute 0.5% of this to help fund apprentice and training schemes in the UK.