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How apprentices are making a difference at Bombardier

Leading rail engineering and manufacturing company, Bombardier, knows first hand the benefits of employing apprentices. Here, the company’s HR Business Partner, Martin Kirk, outlines how apprentices are making a real difference.

Bombardier has been recruiting apprentices for more than 10 years and sees apprenticeships as a crucial way of developing the employees it needs – now and for the future – and has been working with Learning Unlimited to develop a bespoke apprenticeship programme. Over the past four years alone, 110 apprentices have been recruited.

“Apprenticeships are a huge benefit to our organisation,” says Martin Kirk, who is based at the Derby Operations of Bombardier. “It helps upskill the production facility and increase a permanent skilled workforce in line with forecasted projects.”

Apprentices are now at the heart of workforce planning, he says, and, as they train and learn the skills needed, it helps the efficiency of the industry leading production facility and ensures that the company can plan projects more effectively and continue to deliver to meet customer demands.

“If we can see a peak in requirement in welders, for example in two or three years, we can plan for that. Welders are difficult to recruit on the open market and so if we can see a spike in requirement we can bring in a group of apprentices two or three years ahead of the spike so that we can be prepared. Learning Unlimited have helped us a lot. An onsite assessor visits us three or four days a week and helps us with advice on what types of what type of programmes are needed and provide further education on a day release basis for the first two years to give the apprentices the theory they need for the role. We couldn’t do it without them. Learning Unlimited help the apprenticeship programme run smoothly and the apprentices become skilled workers; many become team leaders or production managers.”

His full interview can be found on the Learning Unlimited YouTube channel.

Bombardier film screen shot