Making manufacturing accessible and enabling young talent
For many years, the manufacturing industry has been discussing the skills shortage and the overall lack of new, young talent coming through. An issue widely debated across manufacturing and engineering sectors, businesses are clearly struggling to inform young people of the benefits and prospects related to a career in manufacturing and STEM.
Although we are faced with recruitment challenges due to a limited talent pool, not to mention the irregularity of the market fuelled by the pandemic, as a business, we are making great strides with our Internship and Apprenticeship program.
One of our core objectives is to make manufacturing accessible to all. We work closely with schools and colleges to engage 16–18-year-olds to demonstrate the value of a career in manufacturing. In addition, we also work with universities, including University of Nottingham, to provide work experience for manufacturing students.
Our Sales Director, Christian Krauss, said: “Going direct to schools, colleges and universities has been very beneficial to us. We currently have several students completing work experience and others on a 12-month apprenticeship program.
“The market is so volatile at the moment for a variety of reasons, and it is particularly challenging for students to gain real, on-the-job experience. Through our program, we expose them to various facets of manufacturing, including design and engineering, machine operations and sales. Our ambition is to provide a positive experience to young talent; an experience that not only sharpens their skills and ensures they’re employable, but one that provides overall development for their everyday lives.”
Apprenticeship vs Degree
What we’re trying to do is promote the benefits of an apprenticeship scheme versus a university degree. Although a degree will have some benefits, the value of developing real-world, practical experience is immeasurable. To make it attractive to young people, we ensure that the program is diverse and that they can partake in various training schemes with our full-time employees. Some of the courses we offer are around health and safety, forklift truck operations and Fire Marshall training, plus so much more!
Christian continues: “Another key element of our apprenticeship and internship program is that there is no pressure on the students to remain with Elmelin. Naturally, we have individuals that have remained with us but that isn’t our end goal. We are incredibly passionate about empowering the next generation and ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge, skills and mindset to succeed and grow the manufacturing industry. By putting the individual first, we can ensure longevity and prosperity of the sector.”
Tom Williams, a current student at the University of Nottingham is on an industry placement at Elmelin, as part of his Chemical Engineering degree. He said: “I am four months in to my 12-month placement as a Junior Process Engineer. To start with, I spent time with the various departments to learn more about the business and processes; this included working alongside experienced Operators in the core manufacturing hub of the company.
“I’ve experienced huge benefits by actually learning ‘on the job’ as it is relevant to real-life applications. It has also enabled me to gather more knowledge and experience in specialised areas and develop specific skills that will prepare me for future employment. Of course, classroom learning is important, but it tends to cover the broader topic of engineering, rather than practical skills.
“Elmelin has also put together a comprehensive training plan for me, which includes guidance on how the business approaches its projects and report writing. The writing training has been incredibly useful as it will be a core skill I’ll need as I progress to become a Process Engineer. I have also learned a lot about how a business is run, an area I felt myself lacking in when I first joined Elmelin.
“Overall, it’s been a great experience for me. Elmelin is an extremely exciting and innovative company with a fantastic future. They have made it very easy for me to settle in, and there are always lots of things to do or projects to work on. I have learned a lot already within these first few months and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”