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Finning seek diverse selection of apprentices

Demeki Watson

Company’s apprentice recruitment drive aims to buck international engineering trends

FINNING UK & Ireland have launched a major recruitment drive to attract a more diverse selection of candidates to their award-winning apprentice programme as part of National Apprenticeship Week (7–13 February).

The Caterpillar equipment distributor for the UK and Ireland aims to widen the scope of its workforce by encouraging candidates from a cross-section of society, rather than just those who fit the typical profile of an engineer, to apply for its apprenticeship scheme.

The business says it is determined to buck international trends and attract a more varied talent pool by supporting the recruitment of women, as well as candidates with disabilities, people from black or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and those from socially deprived areas.

Finning’s commitment to creating a team which better represents the demographics of society was recognized in October 2021 when the company was certified with the Disability Confidence accreditation. The business also has an Inclusion and Diversity Council chaired by service director Iain Carpenter, who was once an apprentice at the company, and an Allies for Inclusion programme, which aims to raise awareness and understanding among employees.

A range of opportunities for apprenticeships are available within the Electrical Power Generation and Service departments at Finning’s Cannock, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, Dublin, Chesterfield, Glasgow, Peterborough, Poole, Slough, and Winsford sites. Upon successful completion of the programme, apprentices will achieve nationally recognized qualifications and graduate as Cat Certified Engineers.

Seventeen-year-old Demeki Watson embarked upon a four-year apprenticeship in land-based servicing at Finning UK & Ireland’s headquarters in Staffordshire last September. He said: ‘I’ve always had a passion for plant machinery, so engineering was the perfect career choice.

‘I’m a very practical person and I really enjoy having hands-on experience of fixing the machinery, while at the same time having the opportunity to understand the theory behind how the equipment is put together.

‘Finning UK & Ireland is a really supportive and inclusive environment to work in and the apprenticeship is everything I hoped it would be. It is great to be part of a global company that is at the top of its game in the industry.

‘I would encourage anyone who is thinking about a career in engineering to apply for the company’s apprenticeship scheme. Don’t be put off if you haven’t got a lot of knowledge; the trainers start everyone from scratch and teach you everything you need to know.

‘I’ve only been an apprentice for around five months, but I have loved every minute of it and I’m looking forward to progressing my career within the company.’

Twenty-six-year-old Shannon Weiss started a four-year apprenticeship in land-based servicing at the company’s Chesterfield site last September. She said: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by mechanics and don’t mind getting my hands dirty, so this role was perfect. It is hard work, very messy, and not at all glamorous, but you get an amazing sense of satisfaction when you have fixed an excavator and it is back on site doing what it was designed to do.

‘Traditionally, engineering is not a career that has tended to attract females, who are often put off following their dreams by the thought of working in a male-dominated environment. I would really like to encourage women who are passionate about engineering to apply for the apprenticeship programme.

‘The opportunities and experiences I have had already have been incredible. There is a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination across the business and everyone has made me feel welcome and part of the team. It is a world-class company, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.’

Finning are taking a range of positive steps to help improve upon the latest figures released by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), which revealed that just 14.5% of engineers globally are female, and statistics unveiled by the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), which show that only 9% of UK-based engineers are from the BAME community.

Finning’s learning and organizational development manager, Marsha Myles, said: ‘As a leading global company, we understand the benefits that colleagues from different backgrounds and with varying experiences can bring to the business.

‘Sadly, and to the detriment of the industry, many groups of people have long been underrepresented within engineering and we are determined to play our part in helping to remedy the situation.

‘Our award-winning apprenticeship programme offers amazing opportunities for people to gain qualifications, skills, and a life-long career within a forward-thinking, dynamic, and professional organization, whether they have just left school or college or are looking for a new challenge.

‘No day is the same for our engineers; they could be working with anything from earthmoving machines to marine engines and electric power generators, the possibilities are endless.’

The closing date for applications for the apprenticeship programme is 25 February.

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