To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Martin Hottass, general manager Siemens Professional Education UK, comments on how apprenticeships are helping the business grow its own talent.
Renowned as one of the world’s leading engineering companies, apprenticeships have remained at the heart of Siemens for over 150 years. As the business has expanded into new areas, apprenticeships have grown with it - ensuring we can develop and retain the skills needed across our extensive portfolio.
Maintaining a loyal workforce
With around 15,000 employees in the UK, Siemens has 650 apprentices currently across its business. We recruit 150 new apprentices a year, primarily in advanced and higher engineering roles, but also offer apprenticeships in business administration, project management, finance and IT.
An apprenticeship has proven to be a valuable starting point for many in the business, and we calculate that the average retention rate of our apprentices is 26 years – contributing significantly towards establishing and maintaining our loyal and professional workforce; more so than any other recruitment route.
At Siemens, there are no limits as to how far an apprentice can progress. A number of our board members are former apprentices, along with many other of our senior leaders. There is no question that apprenticeships add value to our organisation.
Matching business needs
As the business has expanded its portfolio, apprenticeships have been key to ensuring Siemens has the right provision in the right places. In 2008, Siemens became a training provider for its engineering apprenticeships, allowing them to develop and implement apprenticeships that are directly suited to the evolving needs of the business.
Becoming a training provider has assisted the business particularly as we have ventured into newly developed fields such as wind power and digitisation, where we found little training provision available. In an effort to combat this, Siemens has contributed among many others to the development of a level 6 power electronics apprenticeship and a level 7 power engineering degree apprenticeship.
Providing excellence and innovation is core to our business. How we use technology in our industry is developing at a significant rate, and, as a business leader, we need to ensure we stay at the forefront of this. With apprenticeships, we have the flexibility to ensure we can meet some of our current skills requirements, as well as build the relevant skills for the future.
Skills for the future
Building skills for the future is high on the agenda for Siemens, not only for the benefit of the business but for the wider industry. Siemens has contributed to ten trailblazer standards for engineering and is continuing to work with the Institute of Engineering and other industry partners to develop the skills the industry needs.
With a series of new apprenticeships in development, Siemens is committed to creating apprenticeships that will help the business thrive as the industry continues to evolve.
Apprenticeships are our life blood and have proven time and time again a positive long-term investment. We want to take full advantage of exploring new technologies and fields, as well as constantly improving and innovating as a business – apprenticeships help us do that.