The philosopher Francis Bacon said “Knowledge itself is power”. Indeed, knowledge is power as it enables an individual to prove his superiority over others. Knowledge is a powerful factor which helps man to attain success, influence and position in life. Modern knowledge is very intricate and wide in scope – enabling mankind to achieve great feats of engineering, forge advances in health and develop incredible technologies.
The Telford Manufacturing Partnership, located within the Telford-based facility of Denso Manufacturing UK Ltd, has secured £1 million of funding through the Employer Ownership of Skills pilot scheme supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The TMP’s aim is, via employer-led skills training, to create long-term solutions to recruitment and skill issues within engineering and manufacturing in the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, and to increase the employability of the local workforce, regardless of employment position or status.
Arguably, there are some significant barriers to achieving increased employability of the local workforce, particularly across the 16–24 age range, where the level of those not in employment, education or training (NEET)remains consistently 6–8 per cent above the national average.
Stuart Boreham, project manager of the TMP, says: “To some extent, being classed as a ‘NEET’ seems a badge of honour rather than a catalyst for gaining knowledge through education, work or an apprentice programme and, thus, progressing in life.”
To help address the issues that exist, the TMP has developed a programme of upskilling and employability skills courses aimed at aiding people into careers in the sectors. Additionally, it is running science, technology, engineering and maths events to increase knowledge and stimulate the minds of young people.
Stuart adds: “The TMP is setting the pace in developing knowledge across the borough, through its programmes which also include an apprenticeship ‘wraparound training’ programme. This is designed to offer apprentices access to courses to enhance the core framework they are following, and thus increase their knowledge basis and employability. A wide range of courses are available – I would encourage businesses based in the Borough of Telford and Wrekin to contact me directly, to access them for their apprentices.”
“To some extent, being classed as a ‘NEET’ seems a badge of honour rather than a catalyst for gaining knowledge through education, work or an apprentice programme and, thus, progressing in life.”
Can such activities really make a difference? The proof of the pudding, it is said, is in the eating. The TMP recruited one 16-year-old school leaver to the project team as an apprentice. Studying for an NVQ Level 3 Business and Administration qualification, he says that the TMP has “broadened my perspective and opened doors to some big opportunities over and above my apprenticeship framework, such as meeting Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills.
“I think that an apprenticeship is an obvious choice for someone my age – I am learning while in paid employment and my apprenticeship will improve the quality of my life in the long run as I am gaining knowledge, over and above my NVQ qualification, that will be helpful throughout my whole life.”
“Knowledge itself is power”, concludes Stuart Boreham, “but knowledge only has power if you release it”.
Pictured top: BMW Mini apprentices inspect a Denso heating, ventilating and air-conditioning unit.