A major Birmingham-based engineering firm has welcomed a fourth intake of young students on to its pioneering pre-apprenticeship scheme.

The 12 pupils, aged fourteen (year 10), will learn hands-on engineering skills as part of a successful programme which has seen nearly 50 students take part since its introduction in 2016.

The adi Group, based at Kings Norton, has made significant strides to help tackle the UK’s skills crisis, already exceeding its own commitment to having five per cent of its workforce made up of apprentices by 2020.

In total, nine graduates from its unique pre-apprenticeship scheme have gone on to become full-time apprentices at the firm, who boast a diverse group portfolio that includes specialisms such as electrical, mechanical, automation, climate & compressor systems to name a few.

Commenting on the new intake and success of the scheme so far, adi Group strategic account director, James Sopwith, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of the pre-apprenticeship programme here at adi.

“This is something that was the first of its kind to launch in the UK, and to date we’ve had some huge successes.

“Not only has it been a launchpad for nearly 50 students to begin their careers in engineering at adi, but it is also a fantastic template for other schools and employers from right across the region to replicate its success.

“Engineering continues to be a viable and in-demand profession, so we’re looking forward to seeing what else we can achieve over the next few years with this pioneering initiative.”

For one afternoon a week for two years, students get the chance to earn an EAL accredited qualification through the pre-apprentice scheme, which sees the youngsters undertake a variety of skills such as fabrication, welding and control panel assembly.

The programme is run in partnership with North Bromsgrove High School and was launched back in 2016 by Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden.

Commenting on the value of the scheme, North Bromsgrove headteacher Nick Gibson said: “The pre-apprentice programme gives our students incredible motivation and really is the jewel in our offering.

“It has allowed our students to flourish, igniting their passions and in turn helping to play a part in developing the next generation of UK engineers.”

Earlier this year, one of the pre-apprenticeship scheme success stories, Abbie Beaver, was selected for the prestigious WES50 – a list by the renowned Women’s Engineering Society, that celebrates the top 50 women engineers in the UK.

In total, 10 female students like Abbie have enrolled on adi’s programme since it began, helping to challenge perceptions over gender stereotypes in the industry.

“An adi apprenticeship helps young people discover their drive, passion and enthusiasm in the workplace, regardless of their gender,” added James.

“These are students that are learning core engineering skills in a real working environment, and from a vitally young age.

“Of course, we hope that all 12 of this year’s intake will become full-time engineers at adi or another business in time, but I’ve no doubt that whatever they intend to do post-apprenticeship, they will become a valuable proposition to any employer across the region and beyond.”

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