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UK: The launch of an employer-backed scheme will see students at a Midlands secondary school swap the classroom for real world engineering experience.

In partnership with North Bromsgrove High School, Birmingham-based multi-disciplinary engineering solutions company ADI has unveiled a pre-apprenticeship qualification for 14-16 year olds who are potentially looking toward a hands-on engineering career.

The scheme, which took in its first contingent of twelve students this week, will offer practical experience and employability skills. Occupying 10% of their overall GCSE curriculum time, the students will spend half a day per week in a live workshop at ADI’s headquarters in Birmingham.

The pre-apprenticeship is said to be the first of its kind in the UK. It is designed to help to close the skills gap by introducing and inspiring young people to the exciting opportunities offered by the engineering sector.

The ADI Group first forged ties with the school through the Business in the Community (BITC) Business Class programme which helps to create mutually beneficial school-business partnerships. Business Class is a flagship programme for BITC, with its overall vision being to “help prevent social background predicting a young person’s success at school and beyond”.

The partnership has been recognised as a primary example of best practice by the CBI West Midlands.

Strong bond

Dave Hadley-Pryce, headmaster of North Bromsgrove High School, said: “We have put together this new qualification as part of our efforts to respond to a growing need in education to prepare students for the broad spectrum of career opportunities available to them after they leave school.

“We have a strong bond with ADI after having worked with them for the last three years, and have found a great deal of synergy in terms of the vision we both have that a hands-on career in engineering is a valuable and rewarding path to take.”

Alan Lusty, CEO of ADI Group, said: “The UK is known for its world class engineering, and we’re committed to inspiring the next generation of hands-on engineers in order to help address the skills gap.

“What’s more, we believe our pre-apprenticeship qualification is creating a comprehensive model which other schools, employers and members of BITC will be able to replicate. Our hope is that in due course, similar qualifications will be implemented across the country, raising youth interest in engineering throughout the UK.

“We’re excited to be launching this new initiative with North Bromsgrove High School, and improving access to and awareness of engineering as a lifelong career.”

The ADI Group includes ADI Climate Systems, which provides refrigeration, air conditioning, process cooling, ventilation, energy reduction, remote monitoring and, renewable services for commercial and industrial sectors.