Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Date: 09/02/2022

THIS week marks the 15th annual National Apprenticeship Week which brings together businesses and apprentices to highlight the value apprenticeships have for individuals, enterprise and the economy as a whole.

The theme of #NAW2022 is ‘Build the Future’ which focuses on how apprenticeships can help young people develop the skills and knowledge they need for a rewarding career while businesses custom-make a talented workforce equipped with the skills they specifically need.

At Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication, we have long recognised the benefit of apprenticeships to skills-based businesses such as ours and ‘Build the Future’ sums up nicely what we aim to do with our apprenticeships.

Knottingley lads Lucas Moon (pictured left) and Oscar Emery (right) are our current two apprentices training within our Fabrication Department. Lucas is following in the footsteps of dad Paul, one of our supervisors, and is in the fourth year of his apprenticeship while Oscar is in year two.

As well as developing their skills on the shopfloor, both lads attend Wakefield College one day a week, working towards an NVQ 3 in welding which is the minimum level of qualification that we require in our welders at YLF.

The combination of the two mean our apprentices gain experience of working with both the modern, technology driven equipment and techniques we favour at YLF and the more traditional tools taught at college.

Faced with a range of post-16 choices on leaving school, both lads opted for an apprenticeship because it offered them the chance to gain valuable skills, qualifications and earn at the same time.

“Many of my mates left school and found work but it’s generally just a job. I wanted to learn a skill, something to develop into a career, backed up with a qualification and that’s what the apprenticeship gives me,” said Lucas.

As bespoke metalwork fabricators, the range of work that passes through the doors at YLF is huge giving Lucas and Oscar lots of opportunities to broaden their skills and experience.

“I learn so much more from being at work than I would if at school or college full time,” said Oscar. “Every day is different. There are new products coming in all the time and plenty of support from those in the factory ready to guide on the best way to handle something different.”

From a business perspective, YLF’s Head of Operations Cheryl Reidy said apprenticeships are a way of introducing ‘young blood’ and ensuring a continuation of skills.

“In a business such as ours where there is good staff retention and the team is largely made up of long serving, experienced people, there is a risk that skills could be lost as those staff members move on into retirement. Apprenticeships bring young people into the business; they benefit from the experience of those who’ve been doing the job for years while bringing a fresh outlook and energy to the workforce,” she explained.

“They can be a winner for all concerned. The apprentice earns while they learn, receives a good grounding in the job, work experience and develops a skill backed up by national recognised qualifications which will stand them in good stead for years to come. The business benefits because often within a year or two of them starting their apprenticeships, they are already producing the quality of work worthy of their more experienced colleagues.”

Cheryl added: “We have high expectations of our apprentices in terms of attendance, attitude and quality of work. Lucas and Oscar don’t disappoint. They have a good work ethic and the quality of their work is exceptional.”