Walker Filtration has welcomed two apprentices to its facility in Washington, Tyne and Wear, in a bid to tackle the national engineering skills shortage and help boost youth employment in the industry.

According to a recent report by Engineering UK, to close the ever-increasing skills gap in the engineering sector, the industry must focus on effectively harnessing the talent pool of young people. The UK needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025 but the report reveals that only 39 per cent of 16 to 19-year olds would consider a career in engineering.

Holly Charlton-Rowell and Morgan Pearce joined Walker Filtration in October, after completing an engineering apprenticeship access programme with TDR Training over the summer. Both Holly and Morgan will spend four years with the business, while studying for a Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Holly, 18, who has joined Walker Filtration as a Design Engineer Apprentice, commented on her decision to go down the apprenticeship route: “I think there is still a lot of stigma surrounding apprenticeships, but I didn’t enjoy studying A Levels and this was absolutely the right path for me. I’ve always been interested in design and studying engineering has allowed me to put my passion into practice.”

Walker Filtration is a supporter of diversity in manufacturing and actively encourages the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to help inspire more individuals, both male and female, to consider careers in the industry.

Morgan, 17, who has joined Walker Filtration’s maintenance department, said: “When I joined a manufacturing business I was under the impression that this was a male-dominated industry, but this certainly isn’t the case at Walker Filtration where there is almost an equal split of male and female employees. The focus is on whether you are good at what you do, with gender being irrelevant. The team at Walker Filtration have made me feel really welcome and are encouraging my eagerness to learn.”

Julie Robinson, Operations Director at Walker Filtration, commented: “We are delighted to have Holly and Morgan onboard and look forward to welcoming a further two apprentices, Travis Smith and Jack Sutton, in the New Year. Walker Filtration recognise the value a diverse team can bring to our business and we believe strongly in investing in the talent of tomorrow and promoting equal opportunities.”

Walker Filtration have previously been involved in numerous schemes to help inspire a new generation into the industry, including the Education in Engineering Scheme. As part of the programme, the company provide projects that enable local students to gain hands-on work experience within engineering.

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