RNA Automation has launched a new apprenticeship programme, providing young people with the opportunity to learn critical skills in the engineering and manufacturing industry.
Davina Kaur is the first of the new cohort; a second-year apprentice from the MTC’s Advanced Level 3 technical programme. Having completed her foundation skills training during a full-time first year at the MTC, Davina joined RNA at the beginning of September to commence her two-year company-based development phase. During this time, she’ll work with a number of mentors across the business, gaining experience in bowl tooling, machining, machine build, design, controls and robot programming in a real-world environment, while returning to the MTC on block release for further training.
Davina’s introduction to RNA was made during an apprentice matching event at the MTC, where businesses were invited to exhibit and discuss their apprenticeship offerings with all of the apprentices at the MTC who were seeking industrial placements.
Phil Baker, Engineering Manager at RNA Automation, remarked of the event “I was highly impressed by the calibre of the young people we spoke with on the day. Not only in terms of their academic attainment up to that point in their education but in the confidence, self-awareness and vision that was present within the group as a whole. The effort and energy that has gone in over the last five to ten years by the industry in communicating how exciting, interesting and rewarding a career in engineering can be, really seems to be paying dividend; here we had a group of talented young people who want to work with cutting edge technology and see an apprenticeship as the best route into the industry for them.
“Whereas in recent times these students with higher academic attainment would have been steered strongly towards A-Levels and University, we’re now seeing them come into the industry at a younger age where they’ll gain a wealth of experience that would otherwise not have been available to them. They see further education in terms of higher-level apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships as a strong means of balancing their education with practical experience and the infrastructure is now coming together to really deliver on that option as a strong development path. Whereas in recent years it’s felt to me like we’ve been taking the challenge to the students and training centres, it feels now that they’re bringing it back around to industry, and that’s only going to be in everyone’s best interest.”
Phil continued: “Now we have students coming into apprenticeships who are already pushing employers for diversity in highly technical roles. They don’t just want to work with PLCs and automation, or in robotics, or in additive manufacture, or in simulation, they want it all and appear determined to and capable of achieving it. With institutions such as the MTC now offering courses that deliver technical training across these disciplines to a higher level than has more traditionally been available, the ownness now comes back to businesses to create these highly dynamic roles that will attract and retain this talent. While it will be a challenge to restructure the way we operate, away from the traditional approach, the businesses which do that to the greatest effect will reap the rewards of a highly capable, highly flexible workforce capable of delivering more complex automation solutions to an increasingly demanding market place with greater efficiency.
“This is why the new apprenticeship programme is so important to us. We need to ensure that the training we’re delivering and the roles we’re creating are designed to meet the challenges and maximise the opportunities that this new generation of engineers are bringing.”