HETA (Humberside Engineering Training Association) is the only specialist engineering training provider in Yorkshire and has been designing and delivering training programmes since 1967, it will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year (2017).
HETA was established by a group of local companies within the engineering sector and was the only training provider to meet all the training requirements whilst having a strong link between training and industry by creating turnkey solutions. HETA was created by ‘employers for employers’ and this cultural ethos remains at the heart of the company today.
HETA now has three sites across the Humber; a site at Catch in Stallingborough, a newly established site at Foxhills Industrial Estate in Scunthorpe and a Head Office in Hull. HETA was established in Hull largely due to its historically industrial sectors, followed by a logical expansion into Grimsby and Scunthorpe following a high demand from employers in these towns.
HETA has 72 employees, an annual turnover of £5m and puts, on average, 600 apprentices through a three year training programme. There are four facets to HETA; apprenticeships, adult up-skilling, HE and engagement with schools. HETA works with 400+ companies, 90% of which are based within the Humber including Phillips 66, Novartis, RB, Centrica, AAK, Smith & Nephew as well as Yorkshire Water and BOC Gases. The instructor team employees at HETA are all ex-engineers and very industry-led, they have had teaching qualifications funded by HETA and, having been apprentices themselves, genuinely want to give something back. Business Development & Marketing Manager, James McIntosh said; “the quality of the training programmes comes from the guys teaching in the workshops who genuinely want to give that young person the most valuable experience they can, including additional employability and soft skills, their dedication is second to none. This is so vital to the employer – this is what works.” HETA over-delivers and actively listens to employers, offering a bespoke programme for the employer and many differentiated approaches for the learners.
Business Development & Marketing Manager, James McIntosh has noticed a real shift in the industry and the increased take up of local companies recruiting apprentices during the last ten plus years. James said; “Back in 2001 we had 50 apprentices of which 50% were based with BP, now in 2016 we have 127 apprentices in Hull and only 3 are with BP and 10 are with Yorkshire Water, more companies are taking on apprentices and in fewer numbers, which is excellent for the local supply chain. More companies are succession planning and see the apprentice route as an effective part of this, rather than previously recruiting ad-hoc.”
Chief Executive, Iain Elliott said; “the term ‘apprentice’ has been misused and overused, now the Government and employers are realising appointing apprentices is an excellent way to recruit and maintain quality skilled employees. This is highly essential as there still remains a huge skills gap in the engineering sector with many employees coming up to retirement age.”
HETA have been actively delivering projects to battle the perception that STEM subjects, and in particular engineering, is not a career suitable for females. Iain Elliott said; “it’s often the girls who win our top awards, in 2010 we had no female apprentices, now 8% of our apprentices are female. We deliver presentations in local schools to dispel the myth that engineering is not a suitable career for females, we really try to ‘hit home’ by saying the starting salary of an engineer is £22k p.a. and the starting salary of hairdresser for example is £10k p.a. Engineering is so much a part of our everyday life, hair straighteners and make-up have all been produced by engineers, it’s not just about electronics, welding and machinery.” HETA have worked with over 3,200 school students over the last 2 years delivering STEM related activities, as well as taking an active part in the Big Bang Yorkshire and Humber event at Doncaster Racecourse and STEM in Action at the KCOM stadium.
HETA’s success rate for apprenticeships is high with 96% of their students finding employment within the industry within their first year of training and over 98% of students going on to full time employment after their apprenticeship. It’s no wonder HETA and their students are sweeping up awards such as the ‘Humber Renewables – Best Education & Training Provider’ for 2014 and 2015, and student Olly Kauss has succeeded over 1,000 student entrants to be in Great Britain squad featuring in the final of the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi.
It’s not just about apprentices for HETA, they genuinely are providing engineering workforce solutions for the future and have delivered £1.5m worth of up-skilling courses for existing engineers in industry over the last 2 years. HETA have also invested year on year in people, infrastructure and training resources and will continue to do so with plans to invest £5m within the next five years into refurbishing their Head Office site in Hull or relocating to a brand new build on a local greenfield site.
HETA are forward-thinking and with the demand for talented engineers increasing in other parts of the world, such as the UAE, they have recently engaged with UKTI, who have assisted with the development of their international export strategy. The HETA model resonates internationally and the team have been dipping their toe in the oil and gas market in the East by attending conferences in Dubai, Oman and Qatar to explore the marketplace.
Lasting words from Iain Elliott cast a light on the future for our region; “The growth in the renewables sector within the Humber will change our region beyond recognition, Siemens putting down roots here is a catalyst for true economic growth, it sends a strong message to other companies and industries that we have the skills, labour force, educational provider network and landmass to accommodate.”