Engineering boss slams ‘appalling’ work attitude among young trainees

DJB Instruments in Mildenhall. Neill Ovenden is pictured.

DJB Instruments in Mildenhall. Neill Ovenden is pictured. - Credit: Archant

An engineering firm boss says he has given up on offering apprenticeships, citing an “appalling” work ethic among young trainees.

Neill Ovenden, managing director of DJB Instruments in Mildenhall, said he had taken on apprentices at various times over the last five years, but had thrown in the towel after “bad experiences”.

“We have fundamentally given up on it because we have found the youth of today just aren’t ready for work,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s something we have moved away from.”

The firm, which specialises in vibration sensors and sensing technology, has a workforce of 24 when at full strength, but struggles to find suitable workers, he said.

“We are basically just taking on people who are beyond the apprenticeship level,” he said. “I have had the same conversations with lots of other businesses.”

It was a “great shame”, he added.

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He had tried young trainees in a variety of roles within the company, but said their experiences in school didn’t equip them for the world of work. There was a lack of candidates for the apprenticeship posts, but also an issue with them adjusting to working five days a week, and doing their coursework while on day release at college, he explained.

“It seems to be fairly across the board. A lot of it is to do with their fundamental attitude to work,” he said.

“They can’t get their head around it. When they are here, they are usually distracted. It’s unfortunately a sign of the times from the education system and perhaps just kids of today. We have stopped because we have had too many bad experiences.”