“Good apprentices are the lifeblood of many small firms and bring tremendous value to the UK economy.”
That is the view of John Nollett, Managing Director of award winning Pailton Engineering which has long seen the value of this traditional route for young people to train for a rewarding career.
Last year named as one of the top 100 apprenticeship employers in the UK having achieved highly commended status in the National Apprenticeship Awards, Pailton has championed apprenticeships for a number of years.
As a company with a global reputation for the design and manufacture of steering systems, Pailton needs a skilful, resourceful and inventive workforce. Committed to manufacturing in the UK, it is a business which invests heavily in both training and equipment and the company has consistently taken on up to four apprentices every year for the past 15 years at its Coventry headquarters.
“It is not only about investing in the next generation, it is also about safeguarding the all-important skill sets on which so much of manufacturing and industry relies and are essential if engineering is to have a bright future in the UK,” commented John.
“I believe the UK is at the forefront of engineering expertise globally and our proud tradition of apprenticeships is one why the UK has such an enviable reputation.
“Apprenticeships are a win-win: by investing in young people a company can grow its own talented employees who will thoroughly understand the business, while the apprentices benefit from a practical education whilst at the same time ensuring that the specialist knowledge which their sector requires is passed on and developed.
“We are enormously proud of our apprentices who have contributed hugely to the success of Pailton Engineering over the years.
“Many have stayed with the company for a number of years after completing their apprenticeships and have progressed to take on significant responsibilities as their careers developed with a number forming part of our senior management team.”
However as the number of apprenticeships has grown, some companies have been criticised for exploiting the subsidies by ‘creating’ apprenticeships that do not require high levels of skills or training and which are not new jobs. It is a policy which John condemns vehemently.
“The reputation of apprenticeships should not be tarnished with less reputable companies exploiting the system”, said John who is also a member of the board of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. “They should be challenging in order to develop skills and not be undermined by providing watered down versions for straightforward jobs requiring the sorts of skills people use in everyday life.”
Each Pailton apprentice is given the opportunity to learn about every part of the business and all receive outside training from MGTS. After 3 years they gain a nationally-recognised qualification.
“The value of good apprenticeships to the UK economy should never be underestimated. They are vital if the UK wants to retain and enhance its pool of skilled workers.
“Our apprenticeships are a source of pride and contribute to our position in the marketplace, whether through engineering, design or other area of expertise and are the backbone of the business.”