Apprenticeships are the way forward for Bombardier

At a time when the engineering sector faces a growing skills shortage, Bombardier is tackling this head on by growing its own workforce for the future through apprenticeships.

The UK’s leading rail engineering and manufacturing company sees apprenticeships as a crucial way of developing the employees it needs – now and for the future. It has been working with Learning Unlimited to develop a bespoke apprenticeship programme and over the past four years alone has recruited 110 apprentices.

“Apprenticeships are a huge benefit to our organisation,” said Martin Kirk, HR Business Partner at the Derby Operations of Bombardier. “It helps upskill the production facility and increase a permanent skilled workforce in line with forecasted project ramp ups.”

Apprentices are now at the heart of workforce planning 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.

Bombardier sees apprenticeships as a key way of developing the employees it needs – now and for the future.

Bombardier sees apprenticeships as a key way of developing the employees it needs – now and for the future.

Martin explained: “Another benefit of recruiting apprentices is that we get a continuous flow of skilled motivated employees, who upskill the production expertise pool of employees and also address specific skill shortages where we have difficulty in recruiting such as paint and welding.”

While working in partnership with Learning Unlimited, Bombardier have shaped a tailored training programme. Most have completed an advanced Level 3 Standard in mechanical, electrical, welding and painting.

“We have been recruiting apprentices for about 12 years, and doing this has also addressed demographic issues as we would have had an ageing workforce which would have posed a number of challenges,” added Martin.

A third of all apprentices have been promoted, which provides natural successors within the management team as well as into other areas, saving the company time and money on potential recruitment costs.