The topic of industry workforce shortages has been rampant amongst the industry for some time now with the UK facing a shortfall of 1 million engineers by 2030.


To combat this impending workforce shortage many companies are turning towards investing in the training of the next generation of apprentices, TIP Trailers being one such company. Last year, TIP Trailers doubled down on its investment in apprentices by creating the TIP Academy. This decision to take on apprentices is a testament to the belief that nurturing new talent is crucial for the long-term success of operations engineering.

We had the privilege of talking to George Haywood, one of the leading trainers at TIP Academy's, about everything from the reason behind taking on apprentices to the positive financial impact of training a new generation of engineers.

What are the main reasons you took on an apprentice?

TIP made the bold decision to create the TIP Academy last year. We, as a business, recognise the shortage of skilled and time-served technicians both here and globally, and have made a significant investment in the future of engineering.

How do you think an apprentice could contribute to your business?

Investment in the future of engineering is critical and the greatest investment is an apprentice. The benefits of this investment can be seen within a short period of time, as any apprentice who’s given the correct guidance and support becomes an invaluable part of the team and positively contributes to the day-to-day operation.

Do you have any specific projects or tasks for an apprentice to work on?

Tasks and projects are allocated to the apprentice but it’s crucial that whatever is being studied in college is also replicated at work. But for the apprentice to stay both interested and engaged, a good all-round technical education, both theoretically and practically, must be given. This includes encouragement of any topics that the apprentice may excel in or find interesting.

How does your apprentice fit into your existing team structure?

Our academy student fits incredibly well into the structure of our department. They are seen as equals and the respect is reciprocated from them.

How has the apprentice helped you improve your productivity or efficiency?

It’s important to remember that the apprentice is not there to make a financial change initially. It’s a long-term investment that will and indeed does pay off. It’s like everything in life. You only get out what you put in.

What skills and experience are you looking for in an apprentice?

Regarding this question there are two schools of thought. One is that the individual requires a base in STEM, the other is a passion for tinkering and a drive to succeed. Personally, I look for passion and drive with a grounding in either a different discipline of engineering or STEM. A great attitude, determination and enthusiasm can’t be beaten.

What kind of training and development opportunities can you offer an apprentice?

We are fortunate that TIP has had the foresight to create the TIP Academy. So that makes it incredibly easy with not only the academic education, but all the other training provided as a business. In my previous employment, we went along the route of REMIT or Stoke on Trent College. Both of which were superb and highly helpful and professional to deal with.

How do you think the benefits of having an apprentice will outweigh the costs?

Within a short amount of time and depending on your apprentice's skill level and indeed attitude, they will start paying back the investment that you have put into them. It’s worth bearing in mind that depending on your size of business you may be eligible for up to 95% of the training costs paid for you by the government.

What advice would you give to someone considering taking on an apprentice?

Just go for it. The future of this industry depends upon it. The rewards, both from a professional and personal point of view, are so vast and enjoyable it’s hard to express into words.

Final words?

The projected shortfall of engineers that’s estimated is deeply concerning. We as an industry need to bring in fresh blood and bolster the ranks for long-term development. This will safeguard the sector against projected shortfall and provide valuable employees at the same time facilitating the much-needed technicians that make our industry possible.