Leading UK engineering firm adi Group celebrates National Engineers Week by introducing apprenticeship mentoring scheme


National Engineers Week sees individuals and businesses come together to celebrate the vital role of engineering, its numerous benefits to society, and its ability to change our world for the better.

Inspiring others to join the conversation in an effort to bridge the widening STEM skills gap, Engineers Week raises awareness of the alarming skills shortage within the engineering industry, and showcases the ways in which businesses are creating meaningful change.

One of the engineering firms taking steps to challenge the status quo and inspiring others to change hindering practices and ways of thinking is multidisciplined UK firm adi Group, whose responsible business commitment focuses on increasing accessibility to the sector, particularly through apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships designed to upskill the younger generations.

James Sopwith, Group Strategic Account Director, is keen to highlight just how essential being proactive as a business is, “The skills shortage is the biggest challenge we are experiencing, and creating ways for young people to gain the skills our sector urgently needs is key.

“To do so effectively, businesses should commit to creating programmes that are dedicated to building these skills with a practical approach, enabling easier access to a career in engineering, and there’s no better way to do so than apprenticeships,” he says.

On a mission to promote the vital role of apprenticeships and to provide an inspiring example for other engineering businesses, adi Group welcomes 12 new 14-year-old students to its pre-apprenticeship scheme per year, as well as delivering on a commitment to ensure 5% of its overall employees are full-time apprentices. The business’s full-time apprenticeship programme now numbers 44 apprentices across 6 disciplines within the Group.

“Our two schemes aim to offer access to valuable opportunities to young individuals who may or may not have considered engineering as a career. Engineering is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of society, actively changing lives for the better.

“We are keen to upskill the younger generation with high-quality programmes, providing them with the right opportunities to learn about the field, but we also want to fuel their nascent passion for engineering even further,” adds James.

And the business has now taken this commitment to new heights, having created an Apprentice Mentoring Scheme designed to ensure every apprentice is directly supported in developing the skills needed to succeed in their engineering career.

As part of the scheme, 43 adi employers from all areas of the business will undertake three days of training to ensure they are able to support their mentees in every respect, helping increase their confidence throughout their apprenticeship as well as gain general life skills.

Leading the training sessions is Phil Holyer, Factory Section Manager at Mondelez International. Commenting on the initiative, he says: “To be at your very best as a company, major focus should be placed on people development. This is the core of the Mentorship and Personal Development Programme at adi. It is so important that we clearly show apprentices the fantastic opportunities they could enjoy if they embrace a vocation in engineering.

“We need to do more to retain and develop our own internal pool of talented engineers – we should aim to create an environment of inclusiveness, opportunity, vision and reward, and work more closely and more effectively with our education partners.”

The adi employees receiving the training fully embrace Phil’s vision, and are eager to put their learnings to use for the benefit of the young apprentices and adi Group as a whole.

“I personally think that the mentoring of apprentices is a key indicator of a business’s intent to train and retain its staff. Having done this in previous roles for apprentices and first-time managers I have found it to be very fulfilling – it has helped my own development, too,” says Andrew Eastell, Facilities Manager at adi Facilities Engineering.

Another adi Group employee taking part in the programme was keen to highlight just how rewarding this kind of opportunity can be for both mentors and mentees: “I have always believed we need to put something back into our industry. Over the years, we are continuously guided by our senior colleagues, and we should do likewise for those just starting out.

“The feeling of being able to impart some of your experience and wisdom onto others is an amazing buzz. You always hope that it helps them to overcome challenges and makes them a more rounded person, both in their professional and personal life. Therefore, it is an honour to be part of this,” comments Barry Whitehouse, Panelshop Supervisor at adi Automation.

With all divisions at adi offering to show their support to the cause during Engineers Week, many of the divisions’ directors and managers will also meet with their apprentices throughout the week to discuss their goals and ambitions, as well as provide them with more insight and inspiration to thrive in their engineering career.

Learn more about adi Group and its mission to engineer a better future here: https://www.adiltd.co.uk/

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