Engineered Learning

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Engineered Learning's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Engineered Learning is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Students engaged in plasma
cutting and MIG welding as part
of the BTEC assessment process
Students celebrating handing over our first
skip to Ward Recycling with Dan Read
Engineered Learning bridges the gap between education and
industry, inspiring and supporting young people below the
age of 16 to develop engineering skills in partnership with
schools across Derbyshire. Developing linear progression routes
through Levels 1 and 2, they support young people into adulthood
using Pearson BTEC accreditation. Director Dan Read tells
Parliamentary Review
about the company and their future aims.
It has been widely acknowledged that businesses need access to a healthy supply
of young recruits to develop their workforces, enhance their businesses and ensure
long-term prosperity.
The chief executive of Jackson Civil Engineering, Richard Neall, has predicted that
over the next five years, the upcoming high-profile construction projects of HS2
and the new nuclear build programme will create an estimated 179,000 jobs. These
projects alone highlight the existing skills shortage, which is exacerbated by the lack
of interest from academically driven young people.
Only spending what we have earned
Engineered Learning was self-funded through my redundancy package, and, to this
day, we only spend what we have earned. I set up the company after recognising
that young people in mainstream education are no longer being inspired to pursue
engineering or construction trades. I began my career as a teenager, winning the
Young Engineer of Derby competition in 1982 aged 12. This had a huge impact on
my future career choices, and I was indentured as a trainee plater and welder at
British Rail Engineering Ltd four years later.
»Managing Director: Dan Read
»Founded in 2013
»Based in Derby
»Services: Pre-16 vocational
steel fabrication and welding
»No. of employees: 10
Engineered Learning
Highlighting best practice
From 1999-2001, I was employed
as the principal outdoor education
youth worker by Derby City Council.
By combining my two skillsets, we
evolved and became able to supply
an alternative vocational education
provision. We work with young people
in school years 10 and 11, the majority
of whom have been excluded from
mainstream education, and assist in
developing their employment skills.
While our primary aim has been to
offer a unique, alternative learning
opportunity for those young people
who have struggled to engage in a
traditional school environment, we
believe that vocational training like
ours should be accessible for all young
people. Our team have developed and
delivered custom-made fabrication
and welding courses, accredited by
Pearson BTEC at both Levels 1 and 2.
It is of great importance to us that the
learners’ experience of manufacturing,
while engaged in learning, creates a
sense of personal value and worth, and
it is through our contacts with local
waste and construction companies,
community groups and projects that
we are able to achieve this.
As well as training young people
in engineering, we also provide
opportunities for them to improve
both their employability and their
capacity for independent living.
Wehave responded to the needs of
each of these individuals by embedding
meaningful pastoral care in a successful
and professional learning environment.
Manufacturing training needs
increased investment
We are growing rapidly in an area of
manufacturing training that is arguably
not receiving the necessary investment.
This is an especially significant
achievement in the current climate,
where businesses are struggling to
recruit and education is at risk of
failing to deliver the workforce that
British manufacturing employers so
desperately need.
Currently, we are developing
resources to deliver Level 2 courses
to students above the age of 16. This
has received a lot of interest from
organisations that work with people
who are unemployed, are homeless
or have left education with few or no
qualifications. With the right support,
and a belief that they are being
supported, students will hopefully gain
appropriate employment skills.
The current skills system is difficult
to navigate, but we believe that if
we are connected to manufacturing
employers’ specific needs, we will be
able to offer specialist training courses
using individual BTEC units that match
each employer’s requirements at
pre-16 stages. This effectively embeds
functional skills within the courses
while also delivering employer-specific
training, rather than trying to cover
everything in only one course.
Developing our provision in
the future
We have high hopes for the future,
especially for our future students, and
aim to:
»Develop accredited outcomes,
increase the employability of all of our
participants, increase manufacturing
skill levels and raise the level of
community partnership working.
Students preparing a skip for
inspection prior to protective
Learning was
through my
package, and,
to this day, we
only spend
what we have
Memorial poppy
sculpture completed by
our under-16s
»Incorporate containerised and
mobile workshops into schools,
tailoring these spaces to fit with each
school’s requirements and available
space. The goal is to help students
to manufacture elements of local
infrastructure or new resources for
their schools, such as goal posts or
tennis courts, while also inspiring the
next generation of engineers.
»Support the return of interschool
engineering competitions with
worthwhile rewards.
»Support homeless people by giving
them the opportunity to build their
own individual and containerised
accommodation while also training
them in accredited skills. These include
construction, electrical engineering,
joinery, plumbing, painting,
decorating, fabrication and welding.
»Establish links with the probation
and prison services to offer
restorative skill development. This
will focus on the manufacture of
national infrastructure, such as the
seating at train or bus stations,
and will simultaneously reduce the
likelihood of reoffending and help
inmates to develop valuable skills.
»Upskill the unemployed by delivering
accrediting courses that develop
local infrastructure, such as parks
or town centres. This also involves
manufacturing street artwork that
serves to represent the community
and its heritage.
»Engage young adults through NHS
mental health service referrals,
helping to raise self-esteem through
employability skill development.
Rather than keeping education and
employment as separate entities, we
should combine the two to create
opportunities and nurture diversity.
We are very proud of the way that we
have earned our growth and we hope
to grow further, increasing our number
of students and seeking to work with
both mainstream students and those
who have been excluded from school.
We do require support and equipment
from suppliers and manufacturers,
which benefit from the first-hand
feedback from operators and raise their
brand awareness with future engineers.
Ultimately, we see each and
every educational opportunity
as a manufacturing opportunity,
just as each and every
manufacturing requirement is an
Training like
ours should be
accessible for
all young
We’ve been working in partnership with Engineered Learning since
it started in 2013 and have been continually impressed with the
quality of workmanship from the young people they support. Ward
is proud to support such a passionate local business helping to
provide high- quality, much-needed vocational training.”
Liz Meakin, national account manager at
When I was younger, I was going through a tough time. I was
quite rebellious and stubborn due to the environment I was in.
Without any direction, I saw I was going down the wrong path.
Since learning with Dan, I have gone on to complete college and
previously had a full-time welding job at JCB. And even now as
a sales executive four years later, I still use the skills and qualities
shown by Dan and his members of staff.”
Jack Lance-Ruane, former student
Jackson take delivery of custom
washout skips to support work with
the Environment Agency

This article was sponsored by Engineered Learning. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister