All you need to know about engineering apprenticeships


With National Apprenticeship Week having just taken place, (4-8 March) apprenticeships are the hot topic in education right now. The event, which coincided with National Careers Week, aims to bring the apprenticeship community together to celebrate the impact apprenticeships have on individuals, employers and the economy.

PETA joined in the celebrations by holding their Young Person of the Year Awards on Tuesday 5 March, which saw apprentice Louise Gandar from Eaton Corporation win the accolade. This was an excellent demonstration of how apprenticeships can relevant at any stage in a person’s career and still add value to business.

With the rising costs of university, more young people are choosing the apprenticeship route as a way into the career they want. Apprenticeships offer the chance to gain on-the-job training, alongside valuable qualifications that will stand you in good stead for the future. And what’s more, you’ll get paid to learn!

Get into Engineering

Engineering is all about the development of change and coming up with ideas to make our lives run more smoothly. It’s a vital part of everyday life, particularly in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries.  As an engineer you will be a practical person with an interest in coming up with new ideas and problem solving.

Everything in the modern world has been engineered at some point - mobile phones, iPads, cars, ships, spacecraft and even things as simple as a stapler.  

Young people considering an engineering apprenticeship should keep in mind that there is an engineering skills shortage in the UK, so if they were to become a qualified engineer, it’s likely they’ll be in high demand.

Sir James Dyson has made his concerns over this skills shortage public over the last few years in a bid to attract more young people into an engineering career. He said there’s a 69,000 shortfall entering the engineering profession every year and that education needs to change as our esteemed institutions are churning out many graduates with impractical degrees.

Engineering apprenticeships with PETA

At PETA, we offer engineering apprenticeships geared up for a range of roles including:

  • Installation Electrician
  • Product Design and Development Technician
  • Technical Support Technician
  • Machinist - Advanced Manufacturing Engineering
  • Toolmaker and Tool and Die Maintenance Technician
  • Business Improvement Techniques
  • Engineering Installation and Commissioning
  • Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician (Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical)
  • Welding

We work with employers to identify their training need, then provide an apprenticeship to fulfil those requirements. We then advertise the role, draw up a shortlist of suitable candidates and conduct interviews. The most suitable applicants from that process are put forward for interview with the employer.

What do our apprenticeships involve?

The majority of our engineering apprenticeships are level 3, although we do offer some at level 2. The level 3 takes four years to complete. The learner will kick off their training with the foundation phase, which will take 18 months; one day a week with PETA and the other four in the workplace. On selected programmes the employer may choose to release the apprentice full time to PETA in order for them to complete their foundation phase in six months.

They will then move onto the development knowledge qualification, which will last two years on day release. During this time PETA will deliver a level 3 technical certificate such as a BTEC National Diploma in a discipline chosen by the employer, for example, electrical, mechanical or something more specific like machining (EAL Diploma). The subject will be decided based on the role that the apprentice is being trained to do. This flexibility to select your level 3 technical certificate is a huge advantage to both the employer and apprentice.

Alongside the technical certificate, the apprentice will develop their competence in the workplace, which involves ongoing assessments by a PETA assessor in partnership with the employer.  Behaviours will be observed during this time, for example, whether the apprentice understands the health and safety legislation relating to their role or whether they are able to work well alone and as part of a team.

In addition, any learners who do not hold GCSE maths and English will receive functional skills tutorials to get their literacy and numeracy skills up to the required level.

Once the training is complete and both PETA and the employer are happy with the apprentice’s performance, PETA will arrange an independent End Point Assessment (EPA) organisation to assess the apprentice to ensure national standards are met.  Successful EPA results in achieving the Apprenticeship.

Ian Smith, Engagement Officer - Engineering Training at PETA said: “PETA deliver above and beyond the minimal requirements of the apprenticeship standards by including nationally-recognised qualifications in all the programmes we deliver. The benefits of this approach is welcomed by apprentices and their employers alike.  Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for people to come away with not only a great job that they’ve been fully trained to do, but also good qualifications that will set them up for life.”

A word from one of our apprentices:

Engineering apprentice Rebecca Bovington of Safran, an international high-technology group, has just won the engineering category award at PETA’s Young Person of the Year 2019. She said: “I decided to become an apprentice because I wanted a practical approach into engineering, something more hands-on. There are so many learning opportunities and to get paid for that as well is just great.”

Find out more about PETA’s engineering apprenticeships today.

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