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Apprentices make sound business sense

Apprentices make sound business sense
With unemployment figures rising and the future looking bleak for those wanting to break into the engineering industry, HepcoMotion has pledged to strengthen its commitment to recruiting apprentices. The Tiverton-based company is one of Europe's largest manufacturers of linear motion systems and acknowledged as a leading expert in the field.  

"HepcoMotion has achieved its high reputation on the world stage due to its highly skilled staff, quality processes, quality equipment and vigorous inspection systems," said the company's Manufacturing Director, Barry Engstrom. "Like many businesses we need staff with very specific skills so taking people on as apprentices and overseeing their training makes sound business sense."

The company first embraced the apprenticeship scheme in 1993 and in that time its qualified apprentices have risen through the ranks to hold many key roles with the organisation. They are now pursuing their careers with HepcoMotion in a range of departments including production, quality control, engineering support and international sales.

Barry Engstrom added, "The majority of HepcoMotion directors are apprentice-trained engineers so as a company we certainly do have a natural empathy with the scheme. It ensures we are continually enhancing our engineering skills with fresh and talented young people. It's something of a flagship for HepcoMotion and rightly so."

On average HepcoMotion has employed four apprentices per annum since joining the scheme. This increased to five last year and the company is currently reviewing its quota for the 2010 intake.

As part of the national Advanced Apprenticeship Framework, HepcoMotion apprentices attend college within the four-year scheme. The main aim is to gain NVQ2 and 3 qualifications. Some then continue their studies to BTEC, HND and even degree level. All other training is conducted in-house to ensure the young engineers receive a thorough grounding in a range manufacturing skills.

David Steel, 27 years, began his apprenticeship with HepcoMotion a little over ten years ago.  Now the company's quality manager, he is a firm advocate of the apprenticeship route. He explained, "I left Tiverton High School with 11 GCSEs and had started a business studies course when I saw an advertisement in the local paper for a HepcoMotion engineering apprenticeship.  Applying and getting the job was the best thing I've ever done."

"I finished my apprenticeship with an NVQ2 in engineering manufacture, an NVQ3 in engineering production and a BTEC National Certificate in engineering," David continued. "Earning while you are learning is a great way of getting on the career ladder and building self-confidence."

Katie Webber (pictured) tells a similar success story.  She won the South West England, initial stage Apprentice of the Year Award in 2006 and has gone on to further academic achievement. Katie is now an important member of the HepcoMotion R&D team.

John Chudley, South West Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, welcomed the decision by HepcoMotion to increase the number of apprentices it employs.  He said, "HepcoMotion has again shown the foresight that has led to extraordinary commercial success. In the current economic climate, it is all too easy for companies to choose to cut back on training.  But, as HepcoMotion has proved, recruiting young people and developing their skills through apprenticeships is a key part of remaining competitive."
 

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