The manufacturing industry employs 2.7 million people in the UK. It is an industry that will always have a need for more workers, and it’s also an industry that is becoming more attractive to those who may not want to attend a traditional university. 

If you’re an employer in the manufacturing sector, one thing to consider in order to upskill employees and improve staff training is apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in lean manufacturing can help both you, as a business owner, as well as the apprentice or student who might be just starting out in the industry. So, what are the core skills that should be learned through an apprenticeship? How can those skills and behaviours help both your business and your apprentice? 

Level 2 Lean Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeship

A Level 2 Lean Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeship is meant for anyone with a genuine interest in the manufacturing industry. People who want to sign up for the apprenticeship must have achieved at least a Level 1 in math and English while working on Level 2 skills in those departments. 

This apprenticeship takes anywhere from 12-15 months and is a great opportunity for anyone looking to move their career in manufacturing forward while gaining hands-on experience. 

Apprentices will learn the following skills throughout the duration of the program: 

  • Health, safety, and compliance
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • Quality control
  • Production
  • Lean manufacturing operations

As you can see, an apprenticeship in lean manufacturing is about more than just learning the ‘tricks of the trade,’ it is about being able to communicate and solve problems on your feet. Those are things that can’t necessarily be taught from a book or by classroom learning alone. Only hands-on experience can help an apprentice to know what to do in just about any situation, and solve problems as they arise. 

Those are the kinds of people who will help your business to grow and succeed because they will know how to handle things without having to be told every step of the way. They will also develop into strong communicators that can make a big difference in how your business growth remains steady.

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How Do Employees Benefit?

If you want to market or advertise that as an employer you offer apprenticeships, it’s important to know that there are many benefits for employees who want to jump on board. They will be more commercial and flexible with their duties, opening up new doors and opportunities for them throughout their career. 

Additionally, they can be trusted to take on more responsibilities. Apprenticeships lead to growth, so the employee won’t remain stagnant or ‘bored’ in one position forever. That kind of growth will also benefit your business since you can be assured that the employee knows what they’re doing as they step into leadership roles, and they have the skills and experience necessary to continue to grow your company and make sure things are being done to your standards.

The skills learned in this apprenticeship can lead to team member production, manufacturing production, or manufacturing assembly. It covers a variety of different skills and tasks so those who complete it aren’t stuck with one specific career path. 

What is an End-Point Assessment?

Before an apprentice can complete their apprenticeship, they will need to go through an end-point assessment. This assessment consists of: 

  • Observation - 2 hours
  • Professional discussion - 1 hour
  • Submission of portfolio evidence

What is submitted in the apprentice’s portfolio will be the basis for the discussion, giving them the opportunity to display that they have done and learned throughout the apprenticeship, and giving you the opportunity to evaluate that work and ask questions. 

As you can see, an apprenticeship in lean manufacturing benefits just about everyone in some way. From a business standpoint, having an apprenticeship program makes it easy to upskill people to meet your standards. From an employee standpoint, it provides a great, hands-on educational experience that can’t simply be taught in a university course or without really getting involved in the live, real-life process. 

If you have never considered apprenticeships for your lean manufacturing company before, it may be time to start in order to ensure you’re consistently working with people who have a passion for manufacturing and who are willing to learn, grow, and help you to succeed for years to come. 

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