Apprenticeships & Traineeships are a big part of what I love about working at Bowhill Engineering. I am incredibly passionate about businesses’ creating opportunities that offer individual opportunities for personal growth and support our strategic future growth goals at Bowhill. If you are a friend of mine, you would be nodding your head at this statement or rolling your eyes if you’re one of my teenagers – it’s evident how passionate I am; just ask me!
What helps is that my Employers shares this vision – Bowhill Engineering, their mission of transforming communities and our people by optimising and building structures that matter, ensures that together we thrive in the success that apprenticeships and traineeships can bring in developing skilled workforce – the onflow affects to individual’s work/life, our industry and our region are unmeasurable but truly satisfying.
I also love is to challenge the thinking around Apprenticeships and Traineeships. There are many stops employers put in front of themselves, in regard to taking on apprentices & trainees. Questions like, what if they leave? How can I afford the time to train someone or employ an unskilled person?
Here’s the positives – what if they stay? What if they return after leaving? What if I hire an adult/mature person and help them secure the trade they never got? What if by getting their trade skills they provide us with a better opportunity at getting future work? What if I get this right and the apprentice becomes one of my company’s future leaders? Is there a better time to be taking on an apprentice with the employer incentives currently available?
One of our biggest challenges in the current recruitment climate is finding Trade Skilled Metal Fabricators. Recently on conducting a reference, the employer I rang stopped me, “before we start, can we please talk about recruitment. Are you finding it hard to find trade skilled metal fabricators?” I felt for this employer, and the answer is yes, we are experiencing the same challenges. Being regional can be even more challenging, this is one of the many reasons we have turned our attention to grow our own tradespeople from the ground up through Apprenticeship & Traineeship pathways.
It confirms the strength in our focus on Apprenticeships and Traineeships when Employers say if I can’t find trade skills, I can’t take on the work on offer and I can’t grow my business. It’s a competitive climate and as Employers involved in metal fabrication and engineering, we know the future with competing industries is not looking any easier for trade skill recruitment. Now is the time to focus on your future trade skill employment strategy.
We have four years to show the Apprentice that this is where they want to work long term because of our great culture and the projects we work with, we are building a big picture of company growth opportunities that Bowhill Engineering can offer and we are building employees committed to our company success. Our employees who have engaged in these pathways can see the benefits in apprenticeships and traineeships because they have been one themselves – it is inspiring!
By committing to Apprentice & Trainee opportunities annually, we have built a fantastic team of 10 Apprentice Metal Fabricators and 5 Trainees at Bowhill Engineering. A wonderful mix of school leaver, adult, mature, new and even upskill of our current employees, this diversity has brought a sense of collaboration between young and old in the workplace.
The benefit of this commitment is rewarding, as we now have a support system that has evolved within itself. Our environment focuses on being non-competitive and supportive, providing mentoring that flows from each stage of our apprentice/trainee group. We provide a forum where Apprentices can speak courageously in a group or individual setting with an Apprentice Team Leader who will back them or speak for them on any challenges they have. An amazing group of tradespeople who have embraced the initiative and are unified in building our next talent because they can see the support it brings in meeting project requirements and sustaining a work/life balance we can all enjoy!
As a regional employer, we are well aware of the greater benefits to our region – keeping youth in our communities, increasing our region’s economic viability in skills growth and the flow on effects for rural business, sporting groups as the offer of stable employment encourages these employees to stay, work and build their homes and families in the area.
My self-satisfaction, well it’s watching that young kid or unqualified adult achieve a trade certificate, it’s watching them grow and provide a foundation for themselves and their family with a future of great employment prospects. It’s their confidence in their skills and seeing them step into new roles, its knowing that one day they’ll drive past that bridge and say I built that! It’s the job satisfaction that makes my heart happy and I encourage you as an employer to challenge yourself to look at how an apprentice or trainee can grow your workforce.
If they leave, at the very least, you have given someone a much brighter future and actively contributed to the current challenges & future development of our industry.