An apprenticeship scheme launched by Cartwright last year has been hailed a major success – with retention levels and the performance of apprentices above industry average.
The youngsters, all aged 16 to 19, have been praised by the company as they pass the half-way mark in the first year of the two-year course.
Company bosses say they are delighted with the work ethic of the apprentices who are rotating between all of Cartwright’s manufacturing departments – including coachbuilding, freight, delivery, inspection, paint and fabrications.
Helen Jennings, Recruitment Manager, said each and every apprentice is developing necessary skills across all areas of the business – including welding, hydraulics, electrical and air fitting and testing, general fitting and assembly, machine operation, finishing and pre-delivery inspection.
Each time the apprentices are paired up with a mentor in a ‘buddy’ system as they learn the required skills. In the first six months since the scheme was launched all have completed eight week rotations within the first three departments and are set to transfer into a new department from next week.
Once they have mastered basic skills in each area they are then able to specialise in an area most suited to their skills and interests.
The 40 apprentices started at Cartwright last August. Helen said even though they were only a quarter of the way through the programme, many of the apprentices were already proving themselves to be real shining lights with promising futures.
She said: "We recruited our apprentices very carefully during a lengthy, rigorous selection process. It is encouraging to see they are all keen to push themselves and progress and learn all areas of the business. In a short space of time we are already starting to see some real stars emerge among them and the great thing is even those who perhaps aren’t as confident as others have really come out of their shell. It is extremely rewarding investing in the future of these young people and watching every single one of them come into their own."
Upon completion of the two-year programme the youngsters gain an NVQ Level 2 in Engineering, following which some they will have the opportunity to progress for a third year on an Advanced Apprenticeship to NVQ Level 3 and ultimately subject to skills and aptitude consider HNC / HND engineering qualifications.
The long-term aim of the scheme is for at least 85 per cent of the apprentices to build careers with Cartwright, ensuring a home-grown pool of talent to support the company’s continuing expansion.
John Cartwright, Director, said: "Some of our most senior members of staff began their careers as engineering apprentices on the shop floor. Skilled workers are the lifeblood of Cartwright. By taking in young, eager recruits we are ensuring the highly-prized engineering skills which are the foundations of the success of Cartwright, are passed on to a new generation of workers."
The company will shortly launch a search for its second intake of recruits. The new group will start with the company in the summer.