The UK’s leading resource management company, Veolia, has recognised the vital role apprenticeships play in its business by hosting its third consecutive National Apprentice of the Year Awards ceremony at the House of Commons. With approximately 300 apprentices across the business, the company has once again demonstrated its commitment to its apprentices, as it believes they play a vital role in closing the national skills gap while helping to attract new talent to its ranks.
The latest figures show more people are on apprenticeships than ever before, meaning more people are being paid to study on the job and completing their studies with both employment experience and earnings behind them. This uptake is considered vital in tackling skill shortages and helping businesses secure their pipeline of talent; however, it’s also estimated British companies will be 20,000 engineers and technicians short each year and that, as a whole, the country will need 1.8 million more engineers by 2025.
Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President of Veolia UK & Ireland, states: “It’s extremely encouraging to see that apprenticeship participation now stands at a record high. As well as seeing apprenticeship uptake steadily rise for both genders, it’s great to see how apprenticeships have helped to attract 7% more females into STEM roles too; however, there is so much more to achieve and especially in Brexit times it is important employers find and develop the talent they need to grow their business. I honestly believe apprenticeships hold the key to success of industry across the UK and if we’re to close the predicted skills gap businesses across the country must keep pushing to deliver the homegrown talent we need.
“For some time now, Veolia’s objective has been to have 300+ apprentices in the business and we’ve also developed our apprenticeships in-line with the passions and interests of millennials in mind. As a result, our apprenticeships aim to expand the career horizons of this generation, while tackling the skills gap. At their core, STEM careers question, design, invent and solve and more businesses need to take responsibility in helping to equip our young people with the skills they require to have fulfilling careers. The good news is, looking at the calibre of people undertaking our own apprenticeship programme the talent is out there to be harnessed.”
Taylor Halsey (27), Lead Engineer based in Greenwich and Veolia’s Apprentice of the Year winner, comments: “Being an apprentice has changed my opinion of learning, not only because I’m now fully immersed in what I love doing but the programme is helping me build my skillset and giving me the opportunity to become a specialist in my chosen area. For me, the most important thing is the balance between developing the technical skills of engineering coupled with people management – since having both helps me interact with everyone I work with internally and externally. I’d like to thank Veolia for the support and for anyone considering an apprenticeship I’d recommend Veolia Campus.”
Taylor Halsey - Apprentice of the Year winner
Being an apprentice has changed my opinion of learning, not only because I’m now fully immersed in what I love doing but the programme is helping me build my skillset and giving me the opportunity to become a specialist in my chosen area
Nick Ellins, Group Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, adds: “Veolia is a leading apprenticeship employer in the utilities sector and a passionate advocate for ensuring a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce. It has played an important part in ensuring the whole utility sector is 'Levy-ready', and contributes energetically to the development of new and ever higher standards in competence, assurance and safety, including a leading role in the development of a new Sustainable Resource Apprenticeship Standard. This award ceremony demonstrates explicitly the value Veolia places on apprentices, and the vital role they can play in its future development and success. I congratulate them for that foresight and all the apprentices that have been recognised at the event, for their achievements."
The Veolia Campus was established in 1999 as part of an employee development programme led by Veolia’s head office in Paris. Today it develops over 300 apprentices across the UK each year. Located in Four Ashes, Staffordshire, the company’s apprenticeships cover everything from sustainable waste management, electrical engineering, business management and mechanical engineering.