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Challenging perceptions of manufacturing among young people

27 November 2017

As the UK manufacturing sector faces a skills shortage putting productivity growth at risk1, a key strategic goal for manufacturing is to promote the industry as a forward thinking and exciting environment in which to forge a career – as it indeed is!

Until now, manufacturing has taken a back-seat in the government plans for economic growth. But, this however is something that is beginning to change. Creating a more highly-esteemed cultural attitude towards manufacturing is key to this.

Challenging the Perceptions of Manufacturing Among Young People

At Prysmian, investing in young people is a crucial way in which we plan to link ourselves to future growth. Our apprenticeship programme aims to change this outlook on cable manufacturing as an industry stuck in the past into one in which young people can make a career for themselves.

Asking young people to consider the importance of cable manufacturing for wider social and economic goals is a fundamental part of doing this. As Prysmian apprentice Rosie Stride points out, “although cables aren’t the most ‘fashionable’ product on the market, they are an imperative part of the modern world and are crucial for wider infrastructure projects, businesses and homes.

Far From Monotonous . . .

“In that sense, it’s really rewarding to know that you’re contributing to the successful functioning of contemporary society,” Rosie continues. “The country really depends on our products and that gives the job a real sense of responsibility.”

Equally, far from being a monotonous, or simplistic process of production, cable manufacturing is also a highly scientific and technologically advanced operation which is demanding of real skill and talent from those involved in it.

Always Something New to Learn

“I would say that there are many aspects of the industry that you wouldn’t really think about without working in it,” says former apprentice Aran Brady. “The science that goes into the compound development and chemical analysis of ingredients is complex and hugely interesting. I’ve enjoyed the vastly different aspects to my role at Prysmian, from compounding and cable testing to running trials. There is always something new to learn.”

“When I first joined Prysmian, I wouldn’t have thought there was so much preparation to development process and production,” continues fellow apprentice George Lucas. “I have definitely learnt a lot from working in this industry, things that I can definitely take further in my career. There is definitely much more to a cable than meets the eye.”

1 https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/press/news-2017/uk-manufacturing-skills-shortage-creates-future-industry-concerns

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