During the meeting, a participant asked about the gender split of applicants for the apprenticeship programs. It was noted that there is still an issue with the perception of manufacturing businesses, which discourages some women from applying.
Another participant inquired about the retention of apprentices, and it was mentioned that approximately 10% of the current workforce consists of apprentices, with around 70% of them staying on after their apprenticeships. Those who leave often do so to pursue different career paths.
The forum discussed the mentoring and buddy system, where mentees meet their buddies monthly, and feedback is collected throughout the apprenticeship to help develop employees. The benefits of embedding this system into the workforce were seen, and around 20-25% of a member’s workforce now consists of former apprentices, which enhances the perception of the apprenticeship program.
The forum also discussed upcoming events, including National Manufacturers’ Day and a site tour at the manufacturing site of Stoke Heath prison in Shropshire, focusing on the challenges of manufacturing in prisons.