Body and trailer manufacturer Cartwright has this week opened its doors to 40 new apprentices as they embark on a career in manufacturing.
The new intake brings the total number of apprentices Cartwright has brought on board since the launch of the scheme just 12 months ago, to 80.
It is an initiative which has been a huge success and one which has seen many of last year’s apprentices progress far beyond that planned, with one already earning a place on the design team. Retention rates too have been above industry average.
Renowned for its engineering expertise, Cartwright sees its apprenticeship scheme as being key to ensuring that it continues to retain the necessary skills that have earned the company the market leading position it enjoys today.
Having just completed a four week block induction to cover health and safety and functional skills at Stockport College, the apprentices will, for the next 23 months, work at Cartwright for four days a week and attend college on day release for workshop training until they pass all training and assessment standards.
Cartwright has worked closely with Stockport College from the outset to develop the course materials which means that it is wholly relevant to Cartwright’s business and it is an approach which has paid dividends.
Within the first year the apprentices will undergo six rotations in individual departments every eight weeks so they can experience each stage of the manufacturing process following which, they will have the opportunity to select an area in which to specialise according to skill and interest.
They will also have the added advantage of being mentored on the shop-floor under a "buddy" system where they will work with a skilled tradesman, learning from his experience while developing engineering and manufacturing skills.
The fact that Cartwright designs and builds products from scratch is a major advantage and provides apprentices with the opportunity to learn the end to end manufacturing process within one company.
During their apprenticeship they will develop a comprehensive set of skills in welding, hydraulic, electrical and air fitting and testing, general fitting and assembly, machine operation, finishing and pre-delivery inspection. Indeed a high percentage of the apprentices providing valuable input particularly in welding and coach building which are particularly popular among the young recruits.
An additional module of 3D design is also being added providing an additional dimension to the programme and Cartwright has gifted 60 licences for its 3D Design Software to Stockport College further demonstrating Cartwright’s commitment to the scheme.
The bespoke two year apprenticeship programme leads to a Level 2 Engineering apprenticeship on successful completion of which, and subject to interest and aptitude, there will be an opportunity for the apprentices to continue to Level 3 and ultimately HND level to further enhance their career prospects within the industry.
John Cartwright, Joint Managing Director, Cartwright highlighted the importance of the scheme not just from Cartwright’s perspective, but the industry as a whole.
He commented: "The transport industry is one which suffers from skills shortages and it is therefore essential that if we are to keep pace globally we ensure that the necessary skills are maintained."
"What apprenticeships do is leave a lasting legacy and create a young workforce which can carry skills through to the next generation."
"Through our apprenticeship scheme we are able to nurture young talent and equip them with the necessary skills to enable them to pursue a career in manufacturing."
"We are delighted to welcome our second intake of apprentices. The first year’s intake has far surpassed our expectations and has made a valuable contribution to our day to day manufacturing process."