Our UK apprenticeship program spans three years, combining on-site work and training with distance-based learning – providing our apprentices with the skills they need to develop a successful career.
The prospect of a stable job, the opportunity to build a lifelong career and to become an expert in his craft – this was appealing to Alex Busst, a young man in his early twenties originally from the Midlands, in England. So, when presented with the chance to become an apprentice with Schindler, Alex seized the opportunity – and he says his father might have played a role in shaping his choice.
"My Dad speaks about his work a lot, which made me want to find a career that I could settle into and hopefully spend all my life in and progress," Alex explains.
Listening to Alex, the decision to join our Schindler UK apprenticeship program was one of the best things he could've done. "I’ve enjoyed learning about basic lift engineering, how to access safely, and also how to use tools to take the equipment apart and put it back together," he says.
Alex is quick to note the job isn’t always easy – but that’s a sign that learning is taking place. "The electrics side of the job is challenging, but I’m taking in as much information as I can," he says, adding that he’s grateful to be working around engineers who are not only qualified, but also patient.
Alex is one of the dozens of apprentices who've taken part in our Schindler UK apprenticeship program, which launched in 2014. The program was launched with a view to building a talent pipeline in an industry which, despite showing promising growth prospects, has been struggling with a nationwide shortage of skilled workers for decades.
Our program currently boasts 13 apprentices, with the majority in their early twenties. It's also attracted over the years a few "older" candidates, after the upper age limit of 25 was removed by the UK government in 2004, as part of broader efforts to address the country’s industry-wide talent shortage.
"We’re looking to recruit six apprentices per year on average, but the search for talent is growing increasingly challenging," says Craig Moses, Head of Training and Information in UKC, who himself completed a general industry apprenticeship in his native South Africa, before moving to England 20 years ago. Craig joined the Technical Training team in 2018 after holding various roles within the industry.
UK-based candidates applying for an apprenticeship with us can choose between four different trades: lift installation, escalator installation, lift service and repair, and escalator service and repair. To join the program, they need to pass exams five in three compulsory subjects – English, Mathematics, and Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) – and two electives of their choice.
Our UK apprenticeship program spans three years, combining on-site work and training with distance-based learning offered via the University of Northampton and the Lift and Escalator Industry Association. The program culminates with an endpoint assessment, an industry standard for apprentices to graduate, which is managed completely independently of Schindler.
Our apprenticeship program in the UK is just one of many similar programs we run in different parts of the world. Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, China, India, New Zealand, Australia – all offer apprenticeship programs covering a variety of professions. While programs differ from one country to the next, all offer our youth an opportunity to enter the workforce and develop the skills they need to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s workplace.
While many of the skills learnt during the program are trade-specific, some of the skills that our apprentices develop during their time with us are transferable – they’ll be able to apply and these skills in other contexts.
Joshua Connolly, an apprentice based in England currently in training with us, was impressed by the efficient recruitment process he experienced and excited when offered a position as an apprentice.
"I really enjoy the variety of work and the opportunity to travel all over the country," he says. He likes what he’s seen so far, and he’s looking to go the distance with us. "I can’t wait to finish my apprenticeship and be fully qualified so that I can properly start my career here."
While not all apprentices secure full-time jobs at the end of the apprenticeship, many do. "Our records show that, of the 25 apprentices who have graduated the program, 22 of them went onto full-time employment with us," says Craig.
Ross Ferguson, from Scotland, eagerly embraced our apprenticeship program, recognizing the immense value it holds for his future.
"I’ve enjoyed the different challenges that I face while being on-site and how I work to overcome them," he says. "Maybe the most challenging was fitting a door frame, as I haven’t had that much experience yet!"
And to enthusiastically conclude: "Being a part of the Schindler apprentice program has made a great difference to my life, as it motivates me to work to the standards of the company, and also encourages me to work hard."