DSM is determined to make a difference through a flourishing apprenticeship programme.
An Ayrshire based vitamins manufacturer has tapped into diverse local talent and built partnerships to supplement the skills it needs to grow its business.
DSM’s site is located in Dalry, North Ayrshire, from where it currently provides 31 Modern Apprenticeships and one Graduate Apprenticeship.
The company’s local footprint was established back in 1958, stretching back to their first Apprentice, Ian Clarkson who started in 1963 as a Mechanical Engineer.
The apprentice programme has gone on to help DSM Dalry upskill existing employees and at the same time has provided young people that have an interest in science, engineering and technology the opportunity to join, learn and develop with a great company, opening doors to a bright future.
During the pandemic, a number of innovations were introduced such as digitised learning processes and setting up virtual training sessions. These changes alongside a closer working partnership with West College Scotland and Skills Development Scotland has proved transformational in staff up skilling and recruitment of Modern Apprentices.
DSM People Partner, David Mills said:“Although it’s not what DSM stood for originally, we like to say DSM means that we Do Something Meaningful and this extends to our apprenticeship programme.
“DSM works tirelessly to attract the best talent from the surrounding area and over the last few years has started a process of early engagement to recruit apprentices.
“In 2021, this involved delivery of two virtual sessions, held with more than 250 (SDS) school career advisors and staff from the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) and STEM SSERC organisation, leading to DSM providing support at a careers fair held at Barrhead High School alongside involvement in several virtual sessions with students from local secondary schools. The use of social media and applications such as Microsoft Sway were also used to further share the apprentice opportunities with potential applicants.
“We also worked with DYW Ayrshire to use the recruitment video created by our own apprentices to showcase our industry.”
We have worked tirelessly to encourage and engage with young women to consider a STEM related career offered by DSM. Hopefully, through our actions we are helping to address the gender balance by actively encouraging young women into a STEM career and potentially opening the door to a career with DSM.
DSM People Partner
David added: “We have worked tirelessly to encourage and engage with young women to consider a STEM related career offered by DSM.
“Hopefully, through our actions we are helping to address the gender balance by actively encouraging young women into a STEM career and potentially opening the door to a career with DSM. This has resulted in six female apprentices being recruited in the past three years.”
DSM’s work to widen opportunities through apprenticeships has earned the firm the Large Employer of the Year title at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, sponsored by Balfour Beatty.
This year, DSM plans to further expand the programme to 16 new process operations apprentices and upskill a further 26 new operations staff using the process operations Modern Apprenticeship framework, as well as two maintenance, one laboratory and one data science Graduate Apprentice.
David continued: “We have approximately 350 permanent staff on site which will grow this year. We continue to use the apprentice route to bring in new skills to support our existing Vitamin C and B5 production operations. Also, our plans include a new product announced at COP26 by Scotland’s First Minister and DSM’s CEO Geraldine Matchett to build a large-scale production plant for the methane-reducing feed additive Bovaer®.
“Our apprentices have full visibility of the opportunity to grow, the pathway from apprenticeship into senior roles such as Team Leaders and Shift Managers.
“For example, one member of the team started on site nine years ago as an apprentice Process Operator moving to Field Operator when his Modern Apprenticeship was completed. Subsequently, he took up the position of a Field Technician, Working Supervisor and just recently started as a Shift Manager in our Vitamin-B5 plant.”
Over 12,000 employers support Scottish Apprenticeships, which are work-based learning opportunities or jobs with industry-recognised qualifications. They are designed with employers for employers, Scottish Apprenticeships are demand-led and responsive to regional skills needs.
David said: “For DSM, both the partnership with supporting organisations such as SDS, DYW, WCS and the frameworks of the various Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships as well as becoming a Young Person’s Guarantee employer, will continue to play an important and integral part of our employee sustainability and recruitment plans.
“The programmes are used as a very successful talent pipeline for the replacement of retiring staff in line with the site succession planning. This has provided tangible benefits in relation to the sustained recruitment of skilled staff that complements the business and end customer requirements.”