Friday, February 10, 2023

News: Rotherham engineers on benefit of apprenticeships


This week is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2023 - the 16th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is "Skills for Life"; reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Rotherham-based Philford Design Engineers, one of the UK's leading designers and manufacturers of bespoke materials handling, conveying & industrial equipment, is just one local company to benefit from having apprenticeships in its workforce.

Richard Durr, director of operations at Philford Design Engineers, explained: "There's a couple of reasons really, that apprenticeships are important, certainly to our business and most businesses.

"One, it gives the local area and community an opportunity for people to develop, for us to invest in that local area. Second, businesses are certainly in our sector engineering. There are some shortages of skills, and I think apprenticeships certainly do help us prepare to fill those gaps as the future progresses.

"So for us, certainly we've looked at fabrication, we've looked at welding as two separate apprenticeship programs. We've looked at design apprenticeships, so that's another design engineering apprenticeships.

"We can look at different levels in there. So you might have your level two, your level three, but then there's the higher levels, degree apprenticeships, which we're also interested in as a business.

Lucas Baldin, is currently studying to level three standard from the AMRC Training Centre and working at Philford. He said: "This is probably the best workplace I've been to so far in regards of the variety of work.

There's custom fabrications and you've got a good background, realistically to work to, you work it to a good standard. Well, I wanted to do the one thing what my dad couldn't do when I go out and that's really how it started!

"I don't want to be a plumber or do any joinery or bricky. I wanted to choose a different path and something that will keep me on my toes all the time. I thought apprenticeships were the right route for me personally, myself, I don't want to spend a lot of time in the classroom.

"Apprenticeships, give me skills for life because it teach me all different aspects of basic writing and knowledge and stuff like that. Maths, it's all related to the workplace."

Durr added: "A real challenge for employing an apprentice is that mentoring part. So making sure within the business, our business or any business that employs an apprentice, that somebody or some persons can mentor that individual or those individuals.

"I think if you've never considered employing apprentice again, my advice would be the same. Just go and try it. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Do your research. Talk to employers who've done it and talk to the colleges that provide the apprenticeship programmes, but just give it a go.

"It works. In terms of Lucas, a level three apprentice who joined us about eight months ago, I've certainly seen a change in Lucas from being a quiet, almost introvert as an individual is totally the opposite now. He gets involved with people, with discussions. He's starting to add value to our business, which is great."

Philford Design Engineers website

Images: Philford Design Engineers / SYMCA


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