Would-be apprentices flock to Waterside

Originally the training arm of glass giant Pilkington, the now independent Waterside Training gets up to 500 applications each year for around 45 electrical and engineering apprenticeships. Tony McDonough reports

Waterside Training takes on around 45 electrical and engineering apprentices each year


While some businesses say they have difficulty finding the right people, one Liverpool city region apprenticeship training business says it has plenty of takers for its high-skill apprenticeship opportunities.

Waterside Training, based in St Helens, recruits and trains electrical, mechanical and multi skilled engineering apprentices, for both small and large global manufacturing, engineering and science businesses across the North West.

It’s annual intake is around 45 apprentices, and business and growth executive, Michelle Lewis, says it is not unusual to receive more than 500 applications per year for their prestigious apprenticeship vacancies.

“We have been  in business for a very long time and have a well-regarded reputation for providing high quality bespoke apprenticeships,” said Michelle. “And we are really effective in promoting our vacancies on behalf of our employers, visiting schools and colleges across the city region, and promoting our vacancies across our social media channels.

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“The clients we work with are in many cases well known household names, and our employers insist on finding the very best candidates for their apprenticeship schemes. We adopt a very robust and rigorous selection process, ensuring we match the right apprentice to the employer.

“We are increasingly encouraged by the growing number of female applicants that are successfully recruited year on year.”

Waterside Training has always attracted large numbers of school leaver applications, however is seeing growing numbers of older candidates, many of whom are looking to change their careers.

The business is increasingly encouraged by the ever-growing number of female applicants securing apprenticeships, and going on to have very successful careers in what was once regarded as a male dominated industry.

Michelle explained: “our apprenticeship model is quite bespoke, but can be flexible, but in the majority of cases employers choose our full time option whereby apprentices in their first year of the apprenticeship, attend with us for five days a week.

“Our employers like this model as they then receive the apprentices for four days a week in the second year who are well prepared, with a great level of training and awareness to prepare them for being on site.

Waterside Training’s history dates back to 1957 when it was initially established an in-house training function as part of iconic St Helens glassmaker, Pilkington, then in the 1990s it expanded and secured contracts with other manufacturing and engineering companies.

The business also has a large portfolio of other specialist bespoke technical and upskilling training courses, working with clients across the country, providing training such as specialist welding courses, electrical maintenance, motor control and PLC training.

Despite the pandemic, recruitment for 2022/2023 is already looking very strong for Waterside Training as more employers are enquiring about apprentices to support their growth strategy and skills development needs for the future.  Any employer looking for support with apprenticeships should call Michelle on 01744 616837.

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