Career journeys all follow different paths. Many take the traditional route, school to college, college to university, university to work but what about those who choose a different path? Apprenticeships are nothing new but are often overlooked. National Apprenticeship Week, which began on Monday, is looking to change that by celebrating the positive impact apprenticeships have on careers, for both the apprentices and those that employ them.
Morson Training’s apprenticeship programme
Morson Training is the award-winning, all-encompassing learning and development division of the Morson Group. The apprenticeship programme, formed in 2014, offers engineering apprenticeships with a range of clients across the rail sector. The programme has always been built upon quality training and wide-ranging experience, with dedicated training centres facilitating face-to-face learning alongside a real-time understanding of the rail industry taking place on-site.
The aims are simple; shape the future of the sister organisations that focus on attracting, deploying and retaining industry talent, and deliver talent for the future of the wider rail industry.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic lead to many businesses furloughing their apprentices. The delivery of structured learning remotely was seen as an impossible task by many and led to many apprentices leaving their studies behind. Morson Training sought a solution for this. Pre-empting the impact this would have on the rail industry long-term, they readdressed and overhauled the apprenticeship landscape, providing a way for them to continue their programme with Morson Training.
Following government instruction, creating an academic environment that was accessible, adaptable and consistent became essential in ensuring our 2020 cohort of apprentices, and those who followed could complete their qualifications. Investment in a new online teaching programme and providing new laptops to the apprentices enabled students to log in from home and complete assessments and undertake regular reviews.
All this led to Morson Training being able to continue providing first-class training and meant existing cohort convert their enhanced apprenticeship wage into a real-time earning wage within a few months, as planned.
Being able to continue as planned was hugely important to our teams for several reasons. Our culture is based on nurturing and engaging people, so it was essential for our apprentices to know that the business wouldn’t turn its back on them. They became integral to changing the industry; they inadvertently became the pilots of a brand-new approach to apprenticeships.
Secondly, our apprenticeship model has always been based on sustainability; we recruit, train and employ our own staff, which means the programme is a loss-maker in the immediate term. But doing so created a sustainable future.
Additionally, apprentices who qualify with us are four times more likely to gain a senior position with a rail contractor. This means our team are essential in delivering the niche skillsets the industry requires now and into the future. It was unquestionable to allow the Coronavirus to create an open-ended break in this process; doing so would’ve been a major threat to the sector’s future.
When the economy reopened, the rail networks remained quiet. This created an opportunity to improve/replace existing infrastructure. However, the countries workforce had changed. Many of the labour markets had relocated back to Europe due to complications arising from Brexit and COVID-19 lockdowns. There was a skills shortage. Our qualified apprentices were called and became an integral part of the delivery of the UK’s future rail network.
The apprenticeship programme, in the face of adversity, adapted and became futureproofed against any eventuality. All 14 members of the 2020 cohort completed their training on time. Now, by implementing the same digital approach the programme has expanded with 50 apprentices being enrolled in 2021.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Morson Training apprenticeship programme, visit https://www.morson-training.com/disciplines/apprenticeships and start your future career today.