JTL: Creating legacy change across the building services engineering sector

JTL is committed to establishing a culture of equality and diversity for all and highlights the benefits of an inclusive working environment

Otis Boykin, Lincoln Hawkins, Garrett Morgan, Shirley Jackson, Lewis Latimer, Marie Van Britten… just to name a few people who have had an impact on our world—but does everyone know who these people are? These are all people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community who have played an inventive role or contributed to the electrical engineering sector in recent history, yet these individuals and many more inspiring people remain ‘hidden figures’.

As a leading training provider for electrical, and heating and plumbing apprenticeships, JTL is both committed to and supportive of driving change across the building services engineering sector. Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Diversity, Safeguarding and Inclusion Advisor, at JTL discusses the industry opportunities for people in the BAME communities.

Let’s face facts

In March 2021, the House of Commons Apprenticeship Statistics Briefing Paper revealed that the overwhelming majority (84.9%) of all learners starting an apprenticeship in 2019-20 were white. Although the proportion of starters from a BAME background was at its highest level since 2002-23 at 13.1% —an increase from 12.3% in 2018-19, clearly, there’s still a very long way to go to boost workplace diversity and showcase the benefits of an inclusive working environment.

Industry opportunities

The UK is a multicultural country where anyone seeking a career in the electrotechnical, plumbing, heating and ventilation trades has every opportunity to do well and be successful. Simply put, a person’s race, gender or age should be inconsequential—if you have the drive to succeed then you will.

With the on-going skills shortages in the building services engineering sector, there’s clearly the demand for these roles. So, what is preventing members of the BAME community from taking up a career in the skilled trades? Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that many young people believe that becoming an electrician or plumber “isn’t for them,” yet trade courses are academically challenging and can open the door to many other opportunities. Additionally, apprentices also need to be able to demonstrate good creative thinking and strong problem-solving skills when translating theory and techniques into actual practice.

Undertaking an apprenticeship allows you to earn while you learn, gaining valuable on-the-job experience while studying for industry-recognised qualifications in a skilled trade. The earning potential is good. Heating engineer apprenticeships, for example, start at £15,000 per year on average and once qualified, can earn between £25,000 and £35,000 per year, or even up to £50,000 for highly experienced engineers. Alternately, completing an intermediate level apprenticeship may be the first step on a journey to further qualifications in the future.

The changes to university life as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the prospect of heavy student debt from gaining a degree that may never be used, may make the apprenticeship route even more desirable.

Better for employees and clients

77% of talent professionals interviewed for LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends of 2021 survey identified diversity and inclusivity as a priority within the recruitment process. Indeed, investment in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programmes are shown to have a measurably beneficial impact upon company performance and culture. An FE Week news article in September 2021 reported that 70% of companies who have a D&I programme said it was “very, or extremely beneficial”, while reports made by institutions such as McKinsey and the Harvard Business Review overwhelmingly found that organisations with a D&I programme see improvements in revenue and stock price.

An ethnically diverse workforce can make a company more attractive to would-be employees. It’s also more attractive to customers and more competitive in its approach, due to their customer base being better represented. Additionally, their workforces can draw on more experiences and wider perspectives to generate better ideas and progress quickly.

JTL is committed to equality and diversity for all. We want to establish a culture of equality and diversity so that all applicants, apprentices, employers, sub-contractors and our staff have the opportunity to work in and towards an environment that is non-discriminatory.

For more information about JTL’s apprenticeship opportunities and commitment to creating a more diverse workforce, visit www.jtltraining.com/apprenticeships/

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