Jessica Tabinor Hinkley Point
Morson held a roundtable debate with HS2 and key representatives from the supply chain to discuss how we future-proof the rail industry in line with HS2’s skills, employment and education targets.
SEE outputs aren’t just reserved for large contractors but a requirement for every business involved in the delivery of the HS2, to ensure it maximises its strategic targets.
HS2 Ltd estimates that around 60% of the contract opportunities arising in the supply chain will be awarded to SMEs, yet smaller organisations face ongoing difficulties in consistently attracting apprentice candidates that successfully achieve their qualifications and enter the industry.
Recruiting apprentices can put more strain on smaller businesses with limited HR and administrative functions; these companies can also face struggles around candidate attraction. A critical part of the problem is being able to provide apprentices with the number of placement hours needed to successfully pass their course.
Dan Perry, interim senior resourcing manager at BBV said:
“We’ve had enough apprentice candidates to already meet our second-year allocation and SEE targets but we just didn’t have the staff to train them, the work for them to do and we couldn’t give them a plan for a year that would benefit them or us.”
Attendees shared best practice examples of apprentices that train throughout different areas of the business during their apprenticeship, giving them a greater skill set and commercial awareness of the career opportunities available. This very same technique can also be adopted across multiple employers, including Tier 1 contractors and SMEs within the supply chain, giving apprentices the chance to experience and learn new skills in different organisations and projects to boost their personal development.
The traditional apprenticeship model is changing with ‘Shared Apprenticeships Schemes’ and ‘project-based candidates’, meaning smaller employers can benefit from apprentices even if they are unable to offer long-term placements.
An Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) bespoke to HS2 would enable SME companies to benefit from talented young people with fresh ideas, save on the costs associated with apprenticeships and more importantly, meet their SEE outputs.
Acting as an ATA, Morson Vital Training (MVT) can utilise existing Apprenticeship Levy funds from the supply chain to engage new apprentices, whilst managing the HR and payroll requirements. These apprentices can then be shared across organisations to help during workload peaks and ensure the apprentice gains the required hours of work.
Delivering the scheme through advanced technology solutions, which captures training and recruitment activity of subcontractors and lower tier contractors, will also provide HS2 with greater visibility and understanding of the full SEE outputs achieved throughout the supply chain. As the next step to this initiative, MVT will be conducting a market survey to test the requirement for ATA support.