Thirty-six school children from West London graduated from the world’s first Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P), which first started in January 2018.
The programme seeks to change perceptions of apprenticeships and make a real impact in the engineering and facilities management sectors by making use of the expertise offered by ABM UK employees.
The graduation follows research highlighting that sixty per cent of young people were unlikely to consider working in the engineering and facilities management industries, fuelling the creation of a skills gap.
Students from Northolt High School, Brentside High School and Featherstone High School presented their final projects, exploring how schools can be more sustainable, at ABM’s training centre in Greenford.
Each student has been awarded an official commendation from certified industry body, the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM, formerly BIFM).
Adam Baker, ABM UK director, said: “We have a responsibility as an industry to engage young people and demonstrate the attractive careers available, whether you are entering the industry through an apprenticeship or a university degree. The first year of our J.E.E.P initiative is a fantastic step towards doing this and we’re delighted that it’s been such a success.
“We set out to change perceptions of technical careers and the feedback from our students has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s clear evidence that exposing young people to the realities of the job, coupled with the right education, can transform how careers in engineering and facilities management are viewed. I wish the thirty-six young people every success in the future.”
Linda Hausmanis, Chief Executive of the IWFM, said: “The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (formerly BIFM) is delighted to support ABM UK in this initiative. Today’s graduation marks an important moment for the industry – it’s a step towards making apprenticeships in facilities management a stronger proposition for young people looking at career choices, and compliments IWFM’s work to reposition the FM profession as a career of choice not chance.
“There’s a serious skills gap in the industry, which can only be plugged if we pull together to highlight the fulfilling end careers we can offer. We look forward to next year when the programme aims to engage even more young people in careers in workplace and facilities management.”
Over the course of the year, students studied a syllabus comprising of 10 modules that cover the basic principles of engineering and facilities management. Topics such as heating, security and customer services were also included alongside theories of induction, electricity and energy. The course also allowed students to visit The London Transport Museum Depot and Heathrow Airport to explore the everyday reality of jobs in engineering and facilities management.
Morgan from Northolt High School said: “When I started the J.E.E.P course I had heard the word ‘apprentice’ before but I wasn’t sure what an apprenticeship was, or what a career in facilities management was. Now I understand about what careers are available and also what they are about. I’m even thinking about being an electrician when I’m older.”
Speaking of the value of apprenticeships in her role as J.E.E.P ambassador, Stemettes co-founder and CEO Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon said: “University is often publicised as the ‘only’ route but this is not true. Apprenticeships are a fantastic viable alternative, which allows young people to earn while they learn and then, often before they are 20 years of age, have debt-free foundations from which to build a solid, well-paid career. Not enough people know about the breadth and availability of apprenticeships; Initiatives such as the J.E.E.P positively profile the virtues of technical careers and engage young people in the options available to them at an age when they are forming views on their career paths.”