10 June 2003
The expanding WYG Newcastle office has developed a training strategy to attract school leavers that could make a dramatic impact on the current skill shortages within construction related industries. It is to be introduced at a time when many students who are due to leave school in the summer may be considering career opportunities.
Over recent years WYG has recruited young members of staff who have gained formal training in association with numerous bodies. However, this training does not always fit with the company’s specific needs. Also after completing NVQ levels, trainees would normally progress by going to University to achieve a degree. Yet, with falling numbers of degree students in recent years the need to look for candidates from a different pool has led WYG to develop its own work placed qualification.
This new training initiative by WYG has been led by associate Allan Ranson, who has been developing the strategy and discussing its widespread adoption with related professional bodies. Mr Ranson joined the consultancy to head up its rail division. Although based in Newcastle, his role has a national focus, his particular skills enabling the Newcastle office to offer mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy specially geared to rail work. A qualified electrical engineer himself, he is all too familiar with the problems of skill shortages and is keen to see every firm in the sector do their bit by investing in training.
He says that the training scheme is similar to the old apprenticeship system, but the big difference is that WYG will then consider supporting the employee through university if they wish to go on to do a degree. He says:
“WYG is working on major projects and it is imperative that we have high quality, well motivated and fully competent staff that can progress through the firm in the fullness of time to take over key roles.
“By taking on school leavers we can ensure that their training matches our specific requirements. This option is an alternative to the traditional route of recruiting degree-qualified engineers from Universities where the process of attracting competent engineers is highly competitive. We can see a great benefit to establishing this scheme, and in time it may offer an alternative means of recruitment for engineers within other companies in the North East”.
With the cost of tuition fees spiralling and student loans set to increase year on year, the prospect of an individual being offered this form of support must be an incentive. In time WYG hopes that it will result in highly motivated and skilled employees allowing the firm to retain and enhance its staff and skills base.
Martin Heddon, aged 19, joined WYG straight from school three years ago and is now being sponsored by WYG on a full time Civil Engineering degree course, at Newcastle University and working for the firm during the holiday breaks. He says:
“The training I am receiving is excellent and I really enjoy my job. It’s a very exciting environment to work in and I get the opportunity to work on live projects. This allows me to set a lot of my academic work into context and I am getting paid throughout.”
Heather Harvey, independent NVQ assessor who has worked with Martin Heddon added;
“WYG is very supportive and committed to helping employees like Martin achieve NVQ levels 2 and 3 and much more”.
If you are interested in a career with WYG check the careers pages of our website.