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Case study

“Prior to launching the Future Talent Pipeline Programme, we found that we were delivering a blanket approach to careers to many schools which had little impact on student’s future career choices”

Gregory Robson Learning Manager

Organisation: Caterpillar 

Author: Gregory Robson

Job title: Learning Manager

Location: Peterlee

Duration: One Day or more.

Introduction to the company 

Caterpillar launched its Future Talent Pipeline Programme to support industry efforts to encourage the next generation of engineers by offering work experience to students in the local area. The company seeks to support the local community by opening its doors and providing students with the opportunity to nurture their own abilities in the field of engineering.

What scheme/s do you offer?

  • One-day simulated workplace environment – four small teams gain access to a simulated work environment where they are assessed by a team leader.
  • One-day STEM challenge – four small teams take on a variety of STEM challenges in a competitive environment supported by engineers.
  • One-week work experience – students apply for one of twelve areas of business, including design engineering, fabrication and weld, engine assembly line and manufacturing.

During the 2015/16 term of the Future Talent Pipeline Programme, Caterpillar worked with five local schools and two hundred and twelve students overall. Schools that Caterpillar has worked with in the past include the Apollo Studio Academy, the Academy at Shotton Hall and the Wellfield Community School in Peterlee, the English Martyrs School in Hartlepool and the North Shore Academy in Stockton-on-Tees.

As a result, six local students were fast-tracked to assessment centres for 2016 apprenticeships. There were six apprenticeship places available in 2016 and three of them were filled by students from the Future Talent Pipeline Programme.

The apprenticeship disciplines include:

  • Fabrication and Weld Level 3
  • Auto Electrician Levels 2 and 3
  • Mechanical Fitter Level 2
  • Laser Programmer Level 2
  • Maintenance Technician Levels 2 and 3

How do students benefit?

To improve access to career guidance for young people by building stronger links with local schools and colleges and allowing students who have an interest in engineering to connect with the company. This helps students identify key links between education and professionalism, as well as appreciate the skills that are valued within the workplace and which are crucial for successful transition into the industry. The programme allows Caterpillar to recognise future potential through providing experience and mentoring.

Furthermore, diversifying the workforce and focusing on encouraging more girls to go into the field of engineering is a global priority for Caterpillar.

How does the organisation benefit?

The Future Talent Pipeline Programme encourages a partnership between Caterpillar in Peterlee and the local community, improving employee engagement and striving for improved economic prosperity and social mobility in the area, as well as supporting to next generation of engineers by providing new opportunities to gain engineering work experience.

Top tips

Experiencing a variety of work experience activities give students a feel for the world of work so that ultimately they make the right career choices early on.

Shannon Naylor

Shannon Naylor

"...There is no better preparation than experiencing work first-hand..."
Shabillah Kabwama

Shabillah Kabwama

"I was able to secure a good employment contract"
Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce plc

"work experience students bring to their placement provides a useful contribution to the horizon scanning process..."