The Electrical Industries Charity teamed up with NAPIT to help young talent in the electrical sector to have a brighter future. The Charity is now encouraging NAPIT members to show their support for apprentices by helping them to progress with their chosen carers and drive the electrical industry forward.

Apprenticeships can bring countless opportunities to young future stars who are looking to kick-start their careers in the electrical sector and earn while they learn and develop skills as they embark on their chosen career ladder. They also bring excellent opportunities for employers who seek to bring more diverse, skilled engineers into their businesses and ensure that electrical sector can remain competitively skilled in the future.

Apprenticeships are a lifeline for businesses as they support growth by getting people in at the start of their careers, equipping them with skills, nurturing and retaining that talent.

Recent Government figures showed that 8 out of 10 managers see apprentices as an essential part of growing their business and stated that apprenticeships help employers to meet their business objectives through the combination of increased productivity, fewer skills gaps and a more diverse workforce.

The same research also revealed that 9 in 10 of every employer who takes on an apprentice report benefits to their business and sees an average increase in productivity by up to £401 in construction and planning and £414 per week in engineering and manufacturing sectors.

However, although apprenticeships bring many opportunities to both employers and young people who are entering our sector, not all of them are able to complete their apprenticeships and progress further in their chosen career paths.

In our sector, there are hundreds of young people who are struggling with a wide range of issues such as caring for elderly or unwell loved ones or are faced with financial problems but have no one to turn to for that vital support. The lack of support network at the time of need can have a significant impact on an apprentice’s performance and progression which could often lead to failure to complete their apprenticeship and mental health problems.

Currently, in the electrical industry, 1 in 4 apprentices are providing a carer’s role to elderly or sick parents, children and disabled siblings, but very few of them receive help, which puts significant pressure on their progress and can very quickly spiral out of control.

In the electrical industry, one in six young workers are experiencing some form of mental health problem but very often don’t reach out for help. A recent survey produced by YouGov/MQ revealed a high level of mental health problems in students, as more than a quarter (27%) have a mental health problem of one type or another. The Guardian also stated that 75% of young people with mental health problems in the UK are not receiving treatment and more than half of them feel embarrassed about their mental illness.

Other worrying figures produced by the Office of National Statistics showed that suicide is the biggest killer of young people aged 20-34 in the UK each year, which is higher than a decade ago. Last year alone around 200 construction workers took their own lives, of which 16% consisted of men between the ages of 18-35.

These are just a few out of many concerning statistics which shows that early intervention and a solid support network can be the key in ensuring the wellbeing and progression of young talent who are entering our sector through apprenticeships.

With this in mind, the Electrical Industries Charity has launched the Employee Assistance Programme of which the Apprentice Support Programme is part of. The Programme provides apprentices with much-needed support services to help them deal with some of those key challenges that affect them as they embark on their career path. The services that the Charity offers through their Apprentice Support Programme include debt management, financial assistance, counselling, support for carers, scholarships, apprentice bursary scheme, engineering scholarship, legal assistance, complex case management support and career development and transition assistance.

Additionally, the Charity is currently working in partnership with NAPIT to help young talent in our sector to progress within the electrical sector and become the leaders of tomorrow. The new partnership aims to offer that crucial support for young individuals who are struggling to reach their full potential and continue climbing their career ladder. NAPIT is also calling on its members to show their support for a young talented 29-year-old apprentice Darren McLay from North Lanarkshire who is in need of assistance from the industry to help him to complete his apprenticeship.

Darren is currently enrolled in his second year as an apprentice on an SVQ Level 3 Electrical Installation Apprenticeship. He has recently worked for Crown House Technology, which is part of the Laing O’Rourke Group, but in January 2018 he was made redundant due to diminishing workload and is currently struggling to finish his apprenticeship. In order to complete his apprenticeship, Darren needs assistance in finding a new employer to achieve his goals and pursue his dream career of becoming a registered electrician.

He has been studying and working within the electrical sector since 2014. Over the years Darren has gained numerous qualifications including SVQ Performing Manufacturing Operations Level 2, NC Electronic Engineering, and a HND Electrical Engineering. He is also ECS Certified and holds an IPAF Card. Darren would be an excellent asset to any company who is looking to reduce the skills gap in our sector and bring diverse, skilled engineers into their business.

If you think you can help Darren to progress within our industry or know someone who can help him to achieve his goals and complete his apprenticeship, sign up to the Charity’s Apprentice Support Programme today and make a life-changing difference in a young talented man’s life.

In a world where advances in technology continue at pace, the need for skilled electricians has never been greater. Darren is one out of many examples that highlights the real struggles that young people are facing as they embark on their careers. Darren’s story also outlines how support from the industry can make a huge difference in someone’s life, and help them to create a better future, progress within the electrical sector and bring fresh ideas, skills and impetus into our sector.