What training and progression opportunities are available to maintenance engineers?

Hannah Kirk

Today we’re going to assess the training and progression opportunities businesses in the west midlands are offering potential engineers. This is the second to last part of our hiring insights series- it’s mental how quick this year is going?!?

Anyway, training and progression opportunities are a strange topic within engineering, and we’re finding that that market is pretty spilt on it. For some, it isn’t at the top of the list (namely the more seasoned engineers), but for the younger generation, this is an integral factor in their career choices.

With this in mind, we have reviewed adverts to determine what packages are out there. After reading this article you’ll be able to:

  • Understand and assess the training and progression opportunities your competition offers engineers, and then compare this against your own.
  • Write about this section in your adverts (or overall recruitment campaign)

Once again, we will be speaking with Jonny Gardner to gain his insight into what this means for you as a business, and how you can use this information to your advantage.

Maintenance Engineer Training Opportunities

In this ever-evolving world, the engineers in your team must have the skillset to keep up. As a result, many organisations have some form of training programme in place.

What is interesting to see is the level of detail that some employers choose to include in their adverts. Here is the overview of how your competitors are talking about training opportunities in their adverts:

We were surprised that 67% of businesses chose not to mention any training information, every organisation has some form of training or induction in place. This means that so many businesses are missing out on an opportunity to attract the upcoming generation of engineers.

What was pleasant to see is that 27% of businesses are going into extensive detail about what training they offer engineers. As emphasising this in this early stage of the recruitment process is a great way to attract the younger generation, ex-forces and even differently skilled engineers to the roles. Some of the training mentioned included:

  • OEM or PLC Training
  • Electrical training
  • Industry and equipment training (which is common in inductions or similar onboarding processes)

Some organisations had even partnered with reputable training providers and mentioned this, which is a huge (and unique) selling point for their business. Additionally, we even saw some adverts mention that the training will be paid, which is another huge attraction point for their business.

Although, it was still a disappointment to see that 53.23% of businesses choose to just state ‘Training’ without any explanation. Whilst it is good for engineers to know that there is training, phrasing it in this way offers no real value to what they will be expected to do.

What our Maintenance Engineer team thinks about training opportunities

Jonny shared his thoughts on how businesses are talking about their training opportunities in adverts:

Training is such a vague term, most Engineers would assume it means how to use their computer systems, an induction and the basics when it can mean so much more.

Engineers want to upskill themselves for long term progression, be it through PLC courses or to multi-skill them. Ultimately it makes them more valuable to an employer and can increase their earning potential.

If businesses throw in Training opportunities it’s a huge draw for Engineers, as paying for it out of their own pocket is a significant expense most simply can’t afford.

From a business’s point of view, it’s a win-win, particularly if they can use their apprenticeship levy. It will not only make their Engineers better but will help retain them.

Retaining Maintenance Engineers in the West Midlands

Jonny talks about how training opportunities are a win-win situation for businesses (which it really is!) as you:

  1. Have skilled engineers in your team
  2. Can get support with the payment (potentially eliminating the end cost to the business and engineer)
  3. Will retain engineers in the business

In terms of why this retains engineers’, basic psychology comes into play.

As you are giving your engineers the autonomy over their careers and choices. Then, you are giving them a level of challenge and the opportunity to have a go at it (with having an achievable goal set). Finally, you are showing that the business cares about them.

All of this will encourage engineers to stay with the business and further their careers.

So, having a tailored training or development programme in place is a real benefit for the business. One that they must be talking about in their adverts. Remember: the more you invest in your engineers the more they will give back!

Progression Opportunities Being Offered to Maintenance Engineers

The progression opportunities mentioned in job adverts told a very similar story to training packages in place.

Here is the full overview of the progression opportunities engineers are being offered:

The fact that 75.52% of businesses didn’t mention any progression opportunities was shocking. Especially when you consider that we only reviewed junior, semi-experiences or experienced adverts. At this level, most candidates will expect some level of career progression.

It was a little strange to see that 36.17% of businesses (who spoke about this in job adverts) choose to say just Progression, it was often seen written as Training + Progression. Again, this phrasing offers no real value to potential engineers. The same can be said for saying that there is potential or plenty of progression.

What do our engineering recruitment team think?

After reviewing the information, Jonny had some thoughts about the data:

It is staggering that 3/4s of businesses aren’t listing anything. 

Training and progression do go hand in hand. 

From my experience the amount who do offer these benefits is significantly higher, whether it’s formal HNC or qualifications or training on-site from manufacturers- we need to start shouting about it and where this will take engineers in their careers.

Businesses just assume candidates want money or better shifts. But there really is more to it. 

In Summary

Jonny touches on a really important point here.

Businesses assume that candidates want more or better shifts. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, having a strong basic salary and shifts that suit their lifestyle will be at the forefront of a candidate’s mind. However, more and more engineers are being swayed by other lifestyle choices. Especially as the newer generation filters (albeit slowly) into the workforce mix.

Now, is the time to review your entire package and analyse if this matches the need of engineers. In addition, now is not the time to be leaving out these details on your adverts. We are in a world where it is just as much about you selling yourself to engineers, as it is about them selling themselves to you.

The final part of our hiring insights of the West Midlands

The final part of our series will assess the range of benefits your competitors are offering, there are so many options that businesses can use to help attract engineers to their roles. It’ll be interesting to see what your competition is currently implementing!

If you want to read the other parts of our series, check out our article: Hiring Insights in the West Midlands! Alternatively, leave your thoughts or any questions on this blog below.

Let us know your thoughts!