Three engineering apprentices have won awards at Linde Material Handling’s annual Apprenticeship Awards.
Liam Mann, 23, Callum Armour, 19, and James Middleton, 25, were each recognised as the best in their respective year groups and James, from Linde Creighton, was named as the overall ‘apprentice of the year’ by Linde’s UK MD, Kerry McDonagh.
The awards, held at Renault’s F1 Technical Centre in Chipping Norton recognise the talent within the Linde apprenticeship scheme with nine of the company’s 54 apprentices shortlisted for the awards this year.
The trio are currently studying for apprenticeships in engineering in the UK’s first certified apprentice scheme for the forklift truck industry, established by Linde in 2011 to address the skills gap for qualified engineers.
Having started the course in 2015, overall winner James is now one year into his training and is working on site at Linde Creighton with customers including Topps Tiles and Triumph Motorcycles. At the end of the three year vocational and technical skills related course, James, along with his fellow winners, will receive a formal qualification recognised by the International Motorship Institute as a Linde forklift truck engineer.
James said he is thrilled to have won the award which will take him on a summer trip to Linde’s main factory in Aschaffenburg, Germany where he and his mentor will get an behind the scenes tour of the company’s latest innovations.
He said: “I really can’t believe I’ve won two awards in one day. To be named best in my year group is something to be proud of, but to then be picked as the best apprentice in 2016 makes me feel like I’ve got a great future at Linde and my hard work is really paying off. The Linde apprenticeship is something I’d wanted to do for a long time because my dad works for the company as a field team leader, it feels like I’m following in his footsteps.
“I can’t wait for my trip to Germany, it’s going to be really interesting to look at some of the products I’ve not had a chance to work on yet and see some of the latest innovations. Once I’ve qualified as a service engineer at Linde, I’d really like to start specialising in the automated trucks which is the way that the industry is heading towards.”
Linde currently has 54 apprentices who are sent to train at the Fork Truck Training Centre in Swindon during their third year. The centre is the only purpose-built dedicated training centre for the forklift industry and Linde has recently supplied five trucks to the new centre for the students to use during their training including electric and diesel counterbalance trucks and a pallet truck.
Rob Evans, technical training manager at Linde, said: “Our partnership with the Fork Truck Training Centre has given us the opportunity to support the next generation of fork truck engineers in the UK by delivering relevant apprenticeship training. Our final year apprentices can learn the theory behind truck engineering and apply their knowledge to Linde trucks so that when they return to our training centre, they can apply their knowledge to Linde systems and equipment.
“Recognising our apprentices’ hard work is an important part of being in the Linde family and we know it contributes to the high retention levels of our engineers once they’ve qualified. Our apprenticeship is unique as it covers a vast range of our products and systems and teaches candidates customer service skills.
“Students like James, Liam and Callum help demonstrate our successful programme to others and I wish them the best of luck in their training.”