Siemens has announced that it plans to take on 160 apprentices in the UK in September 2012 – twice as many as it hired last year. For the first time in decades, the number of new apprentices at the firm will be higher than its intake of graduates, which has remained steady at around 100 per year.
Siemens is now recruiting similar levels of apprentices in the UK to those it takes on in Germany, where the company has its global headquarters and a well-established culture of apprenticeships.
On 24 May, the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, visited Siemens gas turbine plant in Berlin. The ministers toured the factory and met Siemens apprentices. Speaking during the visit, Clegg (above, right) described the UK announcement as “fantastic news”. Apprenticeships, he said, “give young people an invaluable opportunity to learn on the job and allow employers like Siemens to build a workforce with the practical skills their business needs.
“It is a telling fact that Sir William Siemens himself, who founded Siemens in the UK 169 years ago, progressed from the shop floor to the top floor, having started his career as an apprentice,” Clegg noted.
Business Secretary Cable also welcomed the announcement, adding that “in the past, vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses which wasted their time and taxpayers` money. This Government is determined to improve the quality of vocational training and our trip to Germany will be used as a fact-finding mission to look at what we can learn from our neighbours.
“Creating the right conditions to revive UK manufacturing is central to this Government’s mission, as it will help create long-term growth that is balanced between sectors and across the country,” Cable continued. “For too long, the UK economy has been too focused on the City of London, so I am particularly delighted that these jobs will be created across the country in factories and offices in Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Poole, Llanberis, Oxford and Lincoln.”
More than half of the new apprentices will take up roles in the energy sector, with 36 joining Siemens wind power services business.
From September, Siemens will introduce the new Higher Apprenticeships qualifications, which target school-leavers with A Levels, and offer an affordable alternative to university, with the opportunity to progress onto Bachelor of Engineering courses. Siemens is still recruiting its new UK apprentices. Information can be found at www.siemens.co.uk/careers
Earlier in May, Prime Minister David Cameron visited the UK headquarters of Siemens’ Industry division in Manchester, where he praised Siemens’ commitment to inward investment as well as its apprenticeship programme. During a tour of the facility, the Prime Minister (above, right) saw demonstrations of the company’s industrial technologies.
“Manufacturing is crucial to rebalance the economy towards exports and investment,” he said. “Siemens provides an enormous contribution to the economy, with major inward investment and employing people across the country to work on projects that will help our long-term economic recovery.”
Juergen Maier, managing director of Siemens Industry and site manager for the Manchester facility, commented: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to rebalancing the UK economy, and he is right to highlight that the coming months will be tough. It remains critical that we focus on measures that will boost growth and employment, looking at how we can up-skill the UK workforce, equipping the labour market to help it compete on the global economic stage.”