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NORGREN INVESTS IN APPRENTICES

5 February 2013

A group of apprentices are taking their first steps towards an engineering career at Norgren, a global leader in pneumatic motion and fluid control technology and one of Lichfield’s largest employers. The three-year apprenticeship programme is delivered in partnership with South Staffordshire College and is part of a worldwide development scheme run by Norgren and parent company IMI Group, with similar traineeships on offer in Germany.

Over 70 applications were received for the three first-year posts, with candidates being required to show an enthusiasm and aptitude for engineering as well as the dedication to complete the programme which leads to BTEC and NVQ-level qualifications in mechanical engineering. Attending college two days per week, the majority of the apprentices’ time is spent on-site, rotating between machine shop, inspection and assembly, technical, quality and production engineering. Whilst working on the factory floor, apprentices have been given the opportunity to work on real-life projects including optimising workbench storage arrangements to increase efficiency, as well as finding an alternative to outsourcing the manufacture of a particular actuator component.

First-year apprentice Joseph Bricknell, from Erdington in Birmingham, said: “I researched a number of different schemes but by far Norgren’s was the best and, as an advanced apprenticeship, offered the biggest opportunity. I was impressed by the facilities at the Tech Centre, and the fact that I would have the chance to work in a wide variety of departments.

“It’s been a challenge as once you start studying, you realise how much there is still left to learn. However I feel that, particularly through the practicals, we’ve all learnt a lot already.”

Alan Topping, engineering manager, explained: “Providing apprenticeships is good for business. There’s undeniably a skills shortage in British engineering and manufacturing, so apprenticeships allow us to train people for the roles we need to fill – in effect, we’re tailor-making our future employees. We can get exactly the skills we’re looking for, and we know they’re trained to a quality standard.”

James Leeson, one of four apprentices now in their second year, said: “With an apprenticeship we get an education in relevant practical skills, rather than just theory, and I think this will help to bridge the skills gap. There’s a wealth of knowledge in Norgren’s senior team and you can always find someone who’s an expert in their area, so it’s a lot more beneficial than learning everything from just one or two lecturers.”

Norgren’s apprenticeship scheme is now in its second year with seven people currently working towards recognised qualifications. The continued investment into attracting the highest-calibre individuals to a rewarding career in engineering also contributes to sustained growth in UK manufacturing, addressing the skills shortage and encouraging the creation of jobs in the industry. The benefits to Norgren have clearly been recognised as the company is now making plans for this year’s intake of five additional apprentices.

To apply for a Norgren apprenticeship email askhr@norgren.com  www.norgren.com
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