Proud to be an Apprentice!

Nicola Anderson, Head of Apprenticeship Development, Thales explores why she excited to celebrate the variety of apprenticeships available within Thales.

During National Apprenticeship Week we will be releasing a series of employee profiles which celebrate the variety of apprenticeships available within Thales. We want to dispel any misconceptions around who an apprenticeship is for, and celebrate the fantastic opportunity that they can provide to anyone at any stage in their career.

Thales has always been committed to apprenticeships, but when we started out our offering was very different to what it is today. Being an engineering business, we recruited primarily into technician level roles within our manufacturing business. This was a great way for us to grow our own talent whilst creating a loyal and skilled workforce that were passionate about the company, and it continues to be one of our largest programmes today.

Since those early days, however, our apprenticeship profile has diversified significantly, which is something that we wanted to showcase and celebrate during National Apprenticeship Week, in line with this year’s theme of ‘Look Beyond’. Thanks to the apprenticeship reforms and the new occupational standards, we have been able to work closely with other employers to develop new apprenticeships that directly align to our current and future capability requirements. We have been able to introduce apprenticeships where we have a clear skills gap, to ensure that we are growing our workforce for the future – whether this be through a new recruit or by upskilling an existing member of staff.

As a trailblazer employee, we were excited to welcome our first 5 degree apprentices into the business in 2015 onto the Level 6 Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship. Attending Manchester Metropolitan University, these individuals excelled within our business and have recently graduated with 1st class honours degrees. Since this initial pilot our investment in degree apprenticeships has grown year on year, with 36 learners planned to join 4 different degree programmes this September.

We are now proud to be able to offer apprenticeships across nearly all the Thales job families, including Sales and Business Development, Bid and Project Management, Human Resources, Procurement and of course Engineering! We have opportunities for everyone from 16 year old school leavers through to senior managers, as well as those looking to retrain or upskill through a structured programme.

One of the reasons that we are so passionate about apprenticeships is the impact that they have on social mobility. They provide fully funded industry recognised qualifications alongside paid employment and, in our case, permanent full time roles. Within our 2019 cohort we welcomed school leavers looking to start their career, existing employees looking to progress their career and several people who joined us through the Princes Trust as NEETS. Our apprentices are excelling in their roles and are paving the way for the future of Thales.