A new industry-focused partnership has been launched during National Apprenticeship Week, designed to deliver the higher-level skills training needed in engineering and manufacturing to enable the UK to outstrip its global competitors.
Innovion, part of the Seetec Group, aims to address years of decline and raise the status of technical skills to help develop the innovative and adaptable workforce required for the UK economy to thrive. Innovions’ founders include, Leonardo, Visteon, JW Froehlich, Impossible Creations, CEME.
Senior Associate Director of Innovion, Neil Bates, explains why we need to re-think higher levels skills.
The skills race is the new global arms race, claims Innovion Director, Neil Bates, and the UK has fallen significantly behind its European and global trading partners.
More than 60% of engineering businesses in this country say they lack confidence in filling highly-skilled vacancies.
Mr Bates, who also chairs vocational education charity The Edge Foundation, says one of the reasons for the UK’s underperformance compared with countries like Germany, Holland and Denmark is our snobbishness around academic education.
The technical skills route is still perceived as second-class. And the UK won’t be able to develop a prestigious, high-status technical education and skills system unless it raises the professional status of the people who teach it.
Innovion’s aim is to change these preconceptions and tackle the challenges head-on, explains Mr Bates. “Innovion has been set up to create pathways for young people to enjoy fantastic careers in the engineering and manufacturing sector and to be able to progress through technical education, potentially all the way through to a degree apprenticeship.
“It is our response to the demand from employers for a more specialist approach to training their workforce and to addressing the Government’s ambition for the UK to have a world-class skills system.”
Initially, Innovion will focus on the needs of employers in London and the South East, which is home to a quarter of a million engineering, manufacturing and technology businesses and a centre for the automotive, aerospace, defence and medical industries.
Business leaders from leading global companies including aerospace and security giant Leonardo and automotive electronics manufacturer Visteon are already engaging with Innovion, with Managing Director for Siemens Digital Industries, Brian Holliday, the keynote speaker at its launch.
At the launch ,Richard DeNetto CBI Associate Director commented “The launch of Innovion will be very welcomed by CBI members. Innovion addresses two of our members biggest concerns; how to best use my apprenticeship levy pot? and how do I ensure the people I hire have the technical skills needed for today and the future? The model is a real testament to businesses working together in pursuit of a common goal.”
The Innovion model provides an alternative to traditional college delivery and aims to raise the game in several vital areas:
- Providing the highest quality professional learning environment – including industry-specific equipment – with delivery on the job and at the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in East London.
- Employers will take leadership of the skills system they need with a far greater level of control and influence over how the training is delivered.
- Innovion will recruit the highest-quality technical teachers and identify industry specialists to develop as trainers to deliver specialist components.
- At each apprenticeship level, Innovion will offer membership of an appropriate professional body, ensuring apprentices develop appropriate behaviours as well as appropriate skills.
- Progression routes are integral – Innovion will work with employers to ensure all apprentices who achieve their qualification have access to the next level.
- Innovion will develop young people’s practical engineering and technological skills but will also focus on creativity, adaptability and innovation to create a future-proof workforce.
Innovion’s first IT and engineering cohorts will start their apprenticeships later this year, with the aim of growing the programme to 400 apprentices within five years.