Harley Haddow calls to industry to get ahead of widening skills gap

Harley Haddow calls to industry to get ahead of widening skills gap

Archie Wilson, Blair Harvey and Ross Kellachan

To mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March), Harley Haddow’s three current apprenticeship engineers highlight the need for awareness within the engineering industry and how promoting and advertising apprenticeships available would be beneficial for those interested in a career in engineering.

With at least 225,000 extra workers needed to meet construction demand within the next four years, the firm has stressed that it’s clear the engineering industry needs to work harder to attract talent, rather than not addressing the crisis and hoping for the best.

The heat pump roll out proved that there is a lack of skills within areas of construction expertise. In the UK alone there are 3000 UK trained engineers. However, the government’s heat pumps installation initiative will require 27,000 more in the next six years which equates to 400-600 more engineers per year.

Blair Harvey is an Apprentice Building Services Engineer and joined the consultancy in 2019. Having had an initial interest in engineering, the 21-year-old landed a technician role within Harley Haddow and has been supported with enrolment to college and university courses whilst also working.

He said: “I had an interest in engineering and was made aware of Harley Haddow through a teacher at school, which lead to landing a role as CAD/BIM technician. I initially thought to get into the design engineering industry, you would have to go to university and get a degree. However, I have been supported within my studies at Harley Haddow and there has been mentoring and support available throughout my apprenticeship. I feel there should be more emphasis on how much you learn within an apprenticeship and feel there would be more attraction to the industry if there were more opportunities available.”

Ross Kellachan, also an Apprentice Building Services Engineer, joined Harley Haddow in 2021. Fascinated by the world of engineering and taking school subjects to feed this, Ross believes the engineering industry needs to provide more information on apprenticeships, to enable more young people to find a route in.

He added: “Ultimately, I think apprenticeships are the best way into engineering as you get the opportunity to both work whilst developing your learning, I believe getting experience is on par with receiving an education and believe it’s one of the best routes to go down. I feel as though many industries don’t capitalise on how exciting the opportunity of an apprenticeship can be to the younger audience and advertise them very vaguely which isn’t very attractive.”

Archie Wilson joined the consultancy last year as an Apprentice Electrical Engineer. With an attraction to electrical engineering and hearing about Harley Haddow through his dad, Archie talks on how there was a lack of advertisement and awareness of apprenticeships within the industry.

He commented: “Since S3, I’ve always had an interest in engineering, especially electrical engineering. However, I didn’t know about the routes available or how to get in the industry and feel many younger people who would be in the similar position to myself, would be more attracted to the industry if they knew more about it. I wasn’t informed on the types of apprenticeships available until I took it upon myself to delve deeper. I feel there isn’t enough incentive for young people to find out about the industry, they would have to take it into their own hands. From my experience, I did not learn the pathways from school, I had to go out on my own to find the apprenticeships I was interested in.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Week’s focus this year is unlocking potential in people and businesses and highlights how apprentices and employers flourish through apprenticeships.

Marc McLuskey, director, Harley Haddow, said: “It is crucial for us as an industry to attract young people and talent into the sector. However, there is a real lack of information out there and the industry needs to be aware of this and do more. In order to decrease the skills gap we need to advertise and raise awareness of the pathways available into the engineering sector and debunk the assumption that people need to go to university to succeed.

“At Harley Haddow we are passionate about equipping the next generation with the skills they need to thrive within the engineering realm and will continue to support apprenticeships in years to come.”

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