Apprenticeships in Manufacturing

Written by John Cameron, Managing Director of CB Technology

27 March 2023

Apprentices and why they matter

Two weeks ago was International Apprenticeship week. Celebrating the achievements of CB Technology's past and present apprentices inspired us to explore why apprenticeships are crucial to the manufacturing industry.

Apprenticeships are not a new or unusual concept, they can be dated back to the 1500s, with the Statute of Artificers dictating the law for apprenticeships in 1563. Manufacturing has changed drastically since then, but the importance of apprenticeships has remained the same- they are critically important for the future and for innovation within the industry.

Who benefits from apprenticeships?

458 years after the Statute of Artificers, 25,401 ‘Modern Apprenticeships’ were undertaken in 2021/2022 Scotland alone. Although this number is not as high as it was pre-pandemic, apprenticeships are  on the rise with people of all ages interested in learning through hands-on experience. Age does not appear to be a barrier to access these experiences with 9,454 of the apprenticeships were taken by 16-18 year olds, compared to 10,717 over 24 year olds.

Apprenticeships offer an alternative education to young people but also offer a strategic career change to people who want to be part of a growing industry, such as electronics manufacturing which is growing rapidly due to competitive pricing and an increase in opportunities being presented to Scotland. People from different educational backgrounds and life experiences are eager to take on an apprenticeship, and having experienced the growth from CB Technology apprentices, I can understand why.

Apprenticeships not only offer vocational training for apprentices, but also for those involved in their training. Teaching and watching people perform tasks can offer a unique perspective on how and  why we do what we do. Is this method the most effective? Are we producing reliable and repeatable results that are fit for use? Being an ‘outsider’ to these techniques can offer valuable insight to our employees.

As a team we are constantly learning new skills, and taking on new and exciting projects, we use skills that have been used in the electronics manufacturing industry for years. We use our existing knowledge to  improve how we perform tasks, and develop new techniques. These skills are passed onto apprentices, who may go on to develop innovative products that will impact us in the future and provides the industry with insight into how skills might change in time.

Every day at CB Technology our employees use skills that have been taught and refined over time. These skills cannot be taught through written material, for instance soldering which is a rare skill and one which CB Technology is keen to spread to a new generation of electronic manufacturers through the guidance of experienced professionals.

CB Technology Apprentices 

CB Technology apprentices work closely with, and alongside, our experienced team of engineers, receiving industry-leading training, and receiving important experiences that encourage professional development. They are given active roles within our team, and perform a variety of tasks every day for a well-rounded training programme.

CB Technology actively invests in young people and has a long-term commitment to developing the young Scottish workforce by taking on a steady stream of apprentices. The opportunities created by manufacturers such as CB Technology offer a nurturing and constructive approach to preparing the electronics manufacturing industry for a new generation of well-rounded and competent workers.

The Ceed Mentoring programme is an exemplar of how outside mentorship within apprenticeships can further accelerate development and knowledge transfer within the industry. Our apprentices benefit from a blended approach to manufacturing skills development with further academic study in college alongside workplace training.

Read more about CB Technology's experience with The CeeD mentoring programme here.