The apprenticeships are targeted at 16 – 19 year olds who are being invited to apply by logging on to http://www.cartwright-group.co.uk/apprenticeships. They will also have the opportunity to attend an open day in the coming weeks when there will be an opportunity for applicants to gain a greater insight into what is on offer, take a tour of the factory as well as speak to the directors, staff and apprentices.
This latest intake will bring the total number of apprentices the leading body and trailer manufacturer has taken on to 120 in the past two years.
The Cartwright apprenticeship programme, is one of the most ambitious in the industry. It has been a resounding success with retention rates well above the average. It is one which will ensure that Cartwright maintains the necessary skill sets required to drive the business forward.
Indeed a number of the first year’s intake have already progressed to Level Three having been fast-tracked and have moved into office based roles such as Purchasing, Stores, and the Drawing Office. Others have selected more practical positions within coachbuilding, paint and fabrications.
Cartwright further demonstrated its commitment to its apprenticeship scheme towards the end of last year by investing in the new Welding & Fabrication Centre of Excellence at Stockport College.
The bespoke two year apprenticeship programme has been developed in conjunction with the college and leads to a Level 2 Engineering apprenticeship as part of which the apprentices attend Stockport College on day release for workshop training. On successful completion of Level 2, 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 as has already been demonstrated within the business.
The course materials are specific to the Cartwright operation which is an approach that has paid dividends.
In their first year the apprentices will undergo six rotations within individual departments every eight weeks so they can experience each stage of the manufacturing process before selecting an area in which to specialise.
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, pre-delivery inspection and design. Indeed a high percentage of the apprentices providing valuable input particularly in welding and coach building which are two popular areas among the young recruits.
The selection process it will comprise an initial application followed by a three-day workshop and practical assessment at Stockport College which will comprise a mix of workshop activities, teamwork and theoretical skills.
The successful applicants will commence their apprenticeship in August with a four week induction to cover health and safety and functional skills at Stockport College, followed by up to 23 months of working four days a week at Cartwright and one day a week attending Stockport College on day release until they pass all training and assessment standards.
During their training all apprentices will be 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.
Cartwright Director Mark Cartwright commented: "The skills of our workforce form the backbone of the Cartwright business.
"It is therefore essential that we safeguard that skill base by encouraging new blood into the industry.
"Our apprenticeship programme has proved to be a great success. Not only have the youngsters taking part developed new skills, they are now making a valuable contribution to the manufacturing process.
"It is equally heartening to see their enthusiasm and willingness to learn and embrace new challenges.
"It has been it is very much our intention to continue to nurture and develop young people and provide them with the necessary skills to pursue a career in manufacturing within the commercial vehicle marketplace."