Cartwright has further demonstrated its commitment to its apprenticeship scheme by investing in the new Welding & Fabrication Centre at Stockport College.
With the influx of Cartwright’s 80 apprentices over the past two years, coupled with a general upturn in students wishing to take engineering qualifications, meant that Stockport College’s facilities were full to capacity.
Stockport College has always been renowned for its training expertise and in May of this year the College had an approach from Weldability who wanted to set up a Centre of Excellence which they offered to match fund.
It was a proposition which was embraced by Stockport College (former Head of Work Placed Learning and now Engineering Lecturer) Jim Kelly and has enabled him to increase the capacity of the facility and now accommodate up to 150 students.
It has been a substantial project respresenting an investment of nearly £100,000 in state of the art equipment and machinery including 12 new welding sets, new extraction equipment and a roller shutter door to keep the site secure. Cartwright has helped finance all the materials and the centre will be jointly branded with Stockport College and Cartwright logos.
It is also planned that some of the work produced will be utilised by Cartwright.
Jim Kelly says the Centre is potentially one of the best of its kind in the UK and is not only an exciting new development for the Collge, but is one which comes at a time when the demand for engineering courses is booming in a number of colleges.
He commented: "Stockport College has always had a strong reputation for its engineering training however this new Centre takes our offering to a whole new level.
"By having this increased capacity means that we are able to continue to deliver the high standards for which we have always been renowned and work with companies like Cartwright to ensure that we have the necessary skill sets to meet the ever increasing demands from the engineering sector."
Cartwright has worked closely with Stockport College from the outset to develop the course materials so it is wholly relevant to the Cartwright business.
Indeed Jim Kelly has been involved in advising Cartwright for a number of years and praised Cartwright for their ongoing commitment to the apprenticeship scheme which he describes as ‘commendable’.
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.
Commencing with a four week block induction at the college to cover health and safety and functional skills, the apprenticeship runs for 23 months on a day release basis until the apprentices pass all training and assessment standards.
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 as well as 3D design. Indeed a high percentage of the apprentices providing valuable input particularly in welding and coach building which are particularly popular among the young recruits.
Within the fist 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 whey 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.
John Cartwright, Joint Managing Director, Cartwright believes that encouraging new skills is essential if Britain is to keep pace with a global marketplace.
He commented: "The transport industry and indeed the engineering industry as a whole is one which suffers from skills shortages and it is important that we take steps to provide the necessary training programmes and facilities to create a young workforce which can carry skills through to the next generation.
"We are therefore delighted to have had the opportunity to work in partnership with Stockport College to help create this Centre of Excellence."