Friday, September 14, 2012

News: AESSEAL looks to profit by investing in the value of its apprentices


The UK needs to re-evaluate the term "engineer" and improve skills and apprenticeship provision if it is to compete in the global manufacturing marketplace.

That's the view of Richard Cook, production and personnel director at the award-winning Rotherham manufacturer, AESSEAL.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the Templeborough firm's £1.25m apprenticeship programme today, he said: "If the UK is to compete credibly in manufacturing, it needs to re-evaluate the term "engineer", giving it the esteem it has in other leading manufacturing nations, such as Germany and Japan.

"We must also stop devaluing "apprenticeships"; recognise them as a three to five year programme of skills acquisition to create competent machinists – quite aside from the development necessary to go into production supervision and management."

AESSEAL is the world's fourth largest mechanical seal business and supplies oil, chemical, gas, mining, water and other industries. They have developed a two year off-the-job programme for its current and future apprentices.

Earlier this year the government's Business, Innovation and Skills Committee learnt of the need for more support and new national standards for engineering apprenticeships at an evidence gathering session held at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC) in Rotherham.

Richard attended the session.

He condemned current notions that good apprenticeships can be delivered by a 42-week programme: "People are deluded if they think the creation of an engineer can be compressed to this extent. Some of our past apprentices from such schemes were unable to demonstrate even the most basic of machining skills, such as thread cutting.

"We have a huge problem with skills in manufacturing, locally and nationally. We also suffer from cynicism about manufacturing being a dying sector. It's not. This country – commentators, politicians and others – should recognise that, and put much more than words into promoting and encouraging it."

He is also scathing about training provision in general. "Some organisations are drawing down millions in EU funds and not meriting it. But we use a local company, Brinsworth Training (now Brinsworth Academy of Engineering), because they demonstrated a genuine will to work with us to improve local apprenticeship provision. In return we directly support Brinsworth's Strategic Advisory Board."

Richard (pictured, holding one of AESSEAL's many awards) joined AESSEAL in 2002 with the company continuing its record of earning consecutive years of sales and profit growth. A run that is likely to reach 30 this year.

He is an advocate of apprenticeships for a reason: "I have a passion for apprenticeships, because I am an apprentice-trained engineer."

He left school with five GCSEs and was offered a broad-based training programme in engineering at a time when many companies were eradicating apprenticeships.

"And what a fantastic start to working life that was! I eventually went on to achieve an honours degree. So I absolutely understand what a great career route this can be for young people."

AESSEAL website

Images: AESSEAL / IMechE


Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP