Siemens' UK skills dilemma

UK: Siemens has said it had over 1000 applications for 37 apprenticeships at its UK energy service division but struggled to fill them as many of the candidates' core educational skills were not good enough.

Siemens' wind power training centre in Newcastle

The roles were at Siemens wind power training school at its Integrated Energy Service Training Facility in Newcastle, northeast England.

Siemens said there were more applications from school leavers than there were jobs to offer. However when they were assessed, Siemens team leaders had doubts about the general educational standard of many of the applicants.

A spokeswoman said: "The team were thinking, can we fill these places? We have high standards but we were finding people who didn't have high enough core skills in subjects such as maths." The successful applicants are trained for four years whereupon they are offered a job with the company.

She added Siemens was planning to create a similar number of apprenticeships next year. The company has highlighted what it describes as a generational gap in the lack of engineers in the UK.

The  training facility, includes a full-size 2.3MW nacelle and two training towers. Siemens said there are plans next year to add a 3.6MW nacelle to the facility.

Commenting on the scheme at the time it was launched in 2010, UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "The apprentices we met today were positive and fully engaged in their tasks and well aware of the value of pursuing a vocational path and the career opportunities that lie ahead for them. We hope that this message about vocational training gets out to employers and potential employees alike."