STFC’s apprenticeship scheme strikes gold

Apprentice working on piece of equipment in clean room

STFC’s apprenticeship scheme achieves gold ‘We Invest in Apprentices’ accreditation. I reflect on the success we have had to lead us here and our future plans.

Here at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) we’re enormously proud of our apprenticeship scheme. We know our apprentices add real value to the work we do and that’s why we’ve been running the scheme for 25 years now. Although it takes time, effort and dedication to develop a successful apprenticeship scheme, the long-term results and benefits really are worth it.

Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted when I recently received news that STFC had been awarded with gold ‘We Invest in Apprentices’ accreditation from Investors in People (IIP). This phenomenal achievement came shortly after being recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) as the Apprentice Employer of the Year in 2020. It really has been a fantastic 12 months of apprenticeships at STFC!

A key role to play

Our apprentices play a key role in our work. Not only do they contribute to real-world research while they are learning, but they also get vital hands-on experience with some of the most advanced technologies and equipment that’s available today.

We have a range of apprenticeship programmes to offer in disciplines from engineering to computing, all the way through to project management. And it’s being able to offer such a diverse range of options to our apprentices that helps to drive our success.

Apprentice in front of screen smiling

Credit: STFC

Supporting our apprentices in their personal and professional development is incredibly important and extremely rewarding. They are a huge asset to us as an organisation. However, they are also helping to ensure that the UK continues to have the skills needed to stay at the forefront of research and innovation for decades to come. Our apprenticeship scheme is just one of the ways we are working to future-proof the flow of skilled individuals into those all-important STEM careers.

Assessment achievements

I decided to put our apprenticeship scheme through rigorous IIP external assessment because I was keen to provide a benchmark for our work as well as setting the foundations for continuous improvement. Moreover, gaining an independent assessment came with the added benefit of getting external recognition for the amazing work my apprenticeship team does day in, day out.

The IIP assessment team spoke to members of staff at all levels and also included an apprentice survey, so we know the results and any areas for improvement are independent of the views of the STFC management team.

Gaining the gold is real testament to our wonderful apprenticeship team here at STFC. And that includes the huge team effort from every manager, supervisor and colleague who supports an apprentice. Many of our colleagues who support our apprentices today were once apprentices themselves, so they know first-hand just how important it is and where an apprenticeship can lead.

While the IIP gold award is something to be really proud of, receiving the IOP award last year also meant a great deal to us as an organisation. Mainly because we were nominated for the award by our apprentices themselves. It was a real privilege to have our work recognised by them and it’s an honour to receive such a prestigious award.

Looking to the future

But we won’t rest on our laurels now that we have a gold award. In fact, we want to continue to challenge ourselves in order to make the apprenticeship scheme even better for our apprentices.

We’ve got ambitious plans for the future, which includes supporting the development of the programme through a programme of collaborative work with our fantastic continuous improvement project. We really value everyone’s hard work to bring us to this point and l look forward to watching the scheme as it continues to flourish and progress.

Want to find out more?

Our apprenticeships are accessible to everyone. As well as helping to upskill our existing staff members, we also receive applications from:

  • school leavers
  • those looking for a career change
  • individuals seeking a challenging alternative to traditional university courses.

See the huge range of opportunities that we offer through our apprenticeship scheme.

Top image:  Credit: STFC

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