AkzoNobel CadetsThe commitment AkzoNobel to developing the next generation of skilled workers has been recognised in their selection as a finalist in the in the Employer of the Year category of the inaugural Industrial Cadets Awards to be held on 2 March at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London.

The Employer of the Year Award is sponsored by The Telegraph which is also the media partner for the event.

Originally inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales, Industrial Cadets has become the leading organisation for accreditation of business/education linking projects across the country. Industrial Cadets accredits workplace experience activity offered by employers to young people and is now rapidly growing, engaging more than 250 employers and 800 schools to graduate more than 10,000 young people and accrediting more than 200,000 learner hours of workplace experience.

“AkzoNobel has been an active partner for Industrial Cadets since 2013,” says Dr Gordon Mizner, Chief Executive of EDT, the education charity that co-ordinates Industrial Cadets. “As well as providing constant support and guidance in the early years of the initiative, the company has accelerated its use of Industrial Cadet accredited workplace experiences, initially in the Slough area, and now is rolling them out across the country.”

AkzoNobel have run a Silver level Industrial Cadet Award with schools in the area local to their Slough base since 2013. Fast expansion of the programme saw the delivery of a Gold level award in 2016. A Bronze level programme has been approved for 2017, designed with a local school to be suitable for delivery to cohorts in their post 16 unit who have recognised additional learning needs.

The feedback from programmes has been consistently strong; the recent Gold programme recorded that 100% of the students would be interested in a career working with AkzoNobel and rated the programme 9.7 out of 10 where 10 was inspirational.

During the next 3 years it is planned to run the Gold programme at two other large sites and to run the Silver programme on a locally organised basis, and designed specifically for delivery on manufacturing sites across the UK. The new Bronze programme has been designed to be delivered independent of central or site co-ordination.

Matt Pullen, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, AkzoNobel, and one of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Ambassadors for Industrial Cadets, says: “Our Industrial Cadet programmes are highly influential within and outside the company. Around 20% of our main site staff have been involved in delivering programmes and the students record high levels of impact from their experiences. As part of the programmes, we give the students the tools they need to sell their experiences as they apply for future roles. In this way, we maximise the impact of Industrial Cadets on young people’s employability.”