More than 140 young people and parents came to a careers event hosted by OAS to find out about training places with a whole range of employers present. Visitors also heard about plans for the new OAS centre which will train more than 350 young people.
Figures show the UK has an acute shortage of engineers and technicians – estimated at 20,000 annually – with the problem particularly pressing in Oxfordshire, a county with many science and technology organisations.
As well as UKAEA, partner organisations at the event included the University of Oxford, Reaction Engines, Abbott, Lentus Composites, SST Technology, Vale4Business, Oxford Instruments, Diamond Light Source, Element Six, Oxford Space Systems, Nuvia, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and training provider JTL.
Mat Rowe, chief operating officer for Oxford Space Systems (OSS), has just helped to recruit the first two apprentices ever at OSS. Coming to the OAS careers event would help to find the stars of the future, he said.
“Apprentices are essential to the survival of engineers in this country,” he said.
“I’ve been in the space industry for 20 years and we find it hard to get very good engineers – but an event like this enables us to meet young people with a talent and desire to pursue a career in engineering.”
OSS specialises in deployable spacecraft structures such as sun shields and electric propulsion units.
As well as finding out about apprenticeship vacancies, visitors got the chance to tour the OAS training centre and to hear from current apprentices. One of those was Emily Swatton, a 4th year mechanical apprentice with UKAEA.
Emily said: “As well as the practical experience of undertaking an apprenticeship, there are lots of qualifications available to you as well.
“In addition, there are so many diverse careers which fall under the engineering umbrella, so that could be chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electronic engineering or electrical engineering. There are lots of opportunities.
“I’ve really enjoyed doing my apprenticeship, and I can say it’s also a job where you end up making friends for life.”
Steve Hall, Apprentice Training Scheme Manager for the OAS, said: “This event was the kickstart of this year’s recruitment for apprenticeships starting in September this year.
“It was great to have such a fabulous response from employers which only added to the event’s credibility as well.
“And to see more than 140 people turn up was hugely encouraging.”