GE Aviation Wales – Our Apprenticeship Programme

Wales & West Utilities Inspiring Young Talent Award, Winner 2016

GE Aviation Wales offers apprenticeships in both engineering and business administration. The programmes provide excellent opportunities for young people and guarantees talent for the future of the engineering industry.

Good for business

  • The apprenticeships reassure staff the company has long-term plans. This confidence is reflected in staff retention.
  • The apprenticeships will help to lower the engineering skills gap and make it easier for GE Wales to find new employees.

Good for society

  • The apprenticeship target youth unemployment and have found work for more than 300 young people so far.
  • Apprentices develop professionally and personally; even those who aren’t offered jobs gain skills and confidence.

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Overview

Two apprenticeship programmes, run by engineering giants GE Aviation Wales, are providing a path into engineering for hundreds of Welsh young people.

The programmes are run over a three year period, in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd, and apprentices gain technical experience, academic qualifications and on the job training.

The UK will need 1.82 million new engineers between 2012 and 2020 but currently there is a shortage of 55,000 skilled engineers in Britain each year. GE's apprenticeship programmes will help to reduce the skills gap and develop the talent pipeline for the future.

To ensure sustainable business growth, GE Wales needs to recruit the right people, trained with the right skills, to meet the varied needs of its customers.

There are currently 85 people going through either the business administration or engineering apprenticeship programmes.

The apprenticeship programme has formed an integral part of GE Aviation Wales’ recruitment process and over 300 qualified aircraft engineers currently working at GE Aviation Wales joined the business as apprentices in the last 10 years.

In 2015, GE Wales recruited 31 apprentices and 45 interns, equating to 6% of the workforce.

The programmes contribute to the technical quality of GE Wales' recruits. This also boosts Wales’ reputation as a key place to trade and find well qualified staff.

Background

GE Aviation Wales works in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd to create and ensure the programmes are both innovative and flexible, taking a proactive approach to improving programmes where necessary. Both apprenticeships combine college and work based training with apprentices achieving NVQ Level 3 and a recognised Technical Certificate plus Key Skills on completion. 

The apprenticeship programmes are extremely important to the business and its sustainable future, and GE Aviation Wales invests over £1 million into the training programme each year. The firm has a dedicated apprenticeship team, which works within the HR & Training department. The team is responsible for coordinating the programmes and supporting the apprentices with their personal and professional development throughout the programme. 

Employee commitment

GE Aviation Wales employees, from board level to aircraft engineers, are committed to the success of both the apprentices and the long term legacy of the programmes. The structured training of the apprenticeship programmes at GE Aviation Wales help our apprentices gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. They are given hands-on experience and are given the chance to work alongside others with a wealth of experience and knowledge. 

GE Aviation Wales receives around 850 applicants each year for just 25 engineering apprenticeship places. Many of these applications come from local senior schools and colleges which have engaged with the firm.

Embedding volunteering

Apprentices are encouraged to immerse themselves in GE’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme. All those on the training programme have the opportunity to take part in many volunteering activities during their time at GE, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, the scheme which encourages community volunteering, focuses on team and character building whilst giving apprentices the opportunity to be the best they can be. 

The apprenticeship programmes have increased positive perceptions of the business among the Welsh business community, the public and the media. In 2014, GE Aviation Wales was recognised for its continued commitment to learning, training and development, scooping three prestigious awards.  

What GE Aviation Wales' Managing Director said:

“GE Aviation Wales prides itself on providing career opportunities for talented individuals. We are extremely proud of our apprenticeship schemes. The growth that the business experiences through the apprenticeship programmes is integral, ensuring that engineering skills remain sustainable in the South Wales. It is through programmes like this that we can enhance employees’ technical capabilities and develop a robust skill set, boosting Wales’ reputation as a key place to trade.” - La-Chun Lindsay, Managing Director, GE Aviation Wales

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