An open letter to schools, parents and young people

Frustrated by the lack of young people joining the manufacturing and engineering sector when they leave school, Jason Lippitt, managing director of Blachford UK has written an open letter to north east Derbyshire’s schools and young people.   As the managing director of a leading European manufacturer of acoustic and thermal insulation components , he shares his frustrations in this open letter over the disconnect between education and the manufacturing sector. He believes this is damaging both industry in the UK and young people’s workplace potential.

‘It may come as a surprise to young people and their teachers, but it’s not A grades or first-class degrees that are top of the list for many employers. I want to employ young people who have a strong work ethic, initiative and a desire to learn and get on and, I want to give them apprenticeships.

I run a successful manufacturing company in Chesterfield, but I rarely get speculative approaches from young people enquiring about apprenticeship opportunities. I know that Blachford is not alone in this.  This is why I am calling on all schools to position apprenticeships as golden opportunities for careers with all their pupils, regardless of how they perform academically.   Apprenticeships give young people both the qualifications and a head start on the career ladder. Better still, they are university debt free. With the right attitude there are no boundaries to career potential, particularly in the manufacturing sector.   Give me a young person who is keen to learn and progress, and I will ensure the Company invests heavily in their future. I will put them on the right apprenticeship path for them and happily fund their degree if that is what they choose.

Driven by the current skills shortage, the career opportunities for young people in the manufacturing and engineering sector are limitless.
There’s a current shortfall of 173,000 skilled workers as 89% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) businesses struggle to recruit. The situation is getting worse as, with Brexit on the horizon, new STEM roles are expected to double in the next 10 years. We need school leavers now to fill these roles. These school leavers are the senior engineers, managing directors and business leaders of the future.

Schools, young people and companies in the STEM sector must talk to each other. Until then, neither the sector nor many young people in this country will reach their true potential.
If we do not collectively encourage young people to consider apprenticeships alongside A levels and university, we are risking the country’s economy. The engineering sector alone contributes more than a quarter of the UK’s total GDP. This figure is likely to rise in the face of Brexit however, with a skills shortage this sector cannot perform to its potential.
The lack of young people entering the STEM sector when they leave school is also, I believe, down to an outdated view the nation has of jobs in engineering and manufacturing. Jobs in these sectors were traditionally seen being dirty and hard. Thanks to technology, times have changed. The use of technology has also opened up more exciting and progressive career opportunities which are often hidden from view.

Walk around manufacturing and engineering companies today and the shop floor is only a small part of the business. Behind Blachford’s shop floor, we have laboratories, engineering workshops, IT, an international sales team, HR and finance departments – all offering a variety of roles for aspiring young people.
Don’t expect jobs like this to find you though. An internet search on a jobs’ website will not always reveal opportunities like this. You have to create them. Convince MDs like me that you could be their next employee. Be proactive and start with that speculative letter or email. I promise you it will open doors.

If you’re the parent, friend, teacher or relation of a young job seeker, I urge you to share this letter with them. I believe that in life we make our own opportunities and a career is no different.’

Jason Lippitt
Managing Director
Blachford UK

TMAT Apprenticeships parliament recognition

TMAT Ltd was recently invited to a Champagne Parliamentary Reception to congratulate the company for its contribution to apprenticeships.

The multi-national manufacturer’s MD, Jason Lippitt, was delighted to attend the House of Commons which included speakers Simon Waugh, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship service and John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning who unveiled the ‘New Era of Apprenticeships’.

TMAT was congratulated by the Minister for their successful track record in mentoring and supporting apprentices and fully embracing the government’s policy.

Jason Lippitt, MD said:

“It was an honour to be invited to such a prestigious event and TMAT pledges to support the New Era of Apprenticeships.”

TMAT has already fully embraced the ‘New Era of Apprenticeships’ by currentlyhaving 20 apprenticeship scheme positions filled by one of the recession’s hardest hit age gaps, 16-24 year-olds. TMAT encourages an investment in people, as Jason Lippitt, MD said:

“It is time to ‘get with apprenticeships’ and nurture the young talent”.

Apprentices join the TMAT team

TMAT has welcomed two new Business Administrator apprentices to its team.

Abigail Robinson is 18 years old and lives locally to Chesterfield. She recently completed her A-levels and decided on an apprenticeship to help progress a career in business. Abigail chose the Business Administration apprenticeship which will give her experience in a multi-faceted role. She will be responsible for everything from reception to admin support for Production Planning. This role will allow Abigail to gain skills she can apply to other administrative roles.

Locally born and bred Dale Smith, 18 has been working in an HGV repair centre since leaving school. Dale decided he wanted to change his career direction to a more “white collar” work environment. He chose the Business Administrator apprenticeship because he can gain skills and experience in many areas.

TMAT is committed to offering apprenticeships to young people that give them opportunities to learn practical skills and to build life long careers.