Diversity and Equality in Engineering & the Role of the Apprentice

The NHS is undergoing an unprecedented decline in directly employed and experienced Estates engineers. Those that are left are nearing retirement and/or under extreme workload pressure that could be considered detrimental to health. These roles can only be filled from the bottom up.

That is to say, that more staff will disappear before some progression plan can be formulated,

Despite continuous efforts from several organisations to resolve the lack of representation and training in the UK, young people, especially women are still very much unrepresentative in NHS Estates engineering professions.

Safeguarding the under-18’s has always been a concern in most industries, hence the trend away from school-leaver recruitment. This is not meant to be ageist, but inexperience of young trainees/apprentices has been documented as a contributing factor to accidents at work. Therefore, structured apprenticeship schemes should be prioritised.

Shortening of apprenticeships by beginning training with a one-year off-the-job course, where new learners can sample all aspects of a trade in a tightly-controlled and safe environment.
During this first year, the more academic student will have the opportunity to fast-track to the professional route.

The objective of this paper is to highlight the current representation of apprentices in NHS Estates and the challenges currently facing females in the UK engineering sector.

This paper will seek to provide IHEEM as representatives of professionals in NHS Estates with factual information to help grow the institute into a world class organisation recognised as leaders of diversity and equality.