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Great place…great people…great prospects!
Great place…great people…great prospects!

Great place…great people…great prospects!

Added to MTDCNC by Seco Tools (UK) Ltd on 06 March 2017

Seco’s Technician Apprenticeship Programme is just the job for Emma and Tom

Talk to any engineering and manufacturing company in the country about likely and potential threats that could affect their future growth and it won’t take long before the current and clearly detrimental skills shortage situation combined with UK Manufacturing’s ability to attract and retain top talent into its ranks crop up.

Despite Government pronouncements, the most recent made only at the start of this year, when a new, but admittedly thin-on-detail, Industrial Strategy White Paper, focusing on technical education and key STEM skills development, was announced - it’s clear that, for the time being at least, that many manufacturing companies wishing to address their immediate and short-term recruitment needs and future skills requirements are ‘on their own’.

Companies like Seco Tools have grasped this nettle.

The company is committed to training and staff development and has, for many years, developed and maintained strong links with local schools and colleges, organising innovative ‘School-Industry Link’ projects with Year 8 and 9 pupils - and providing work experience placement opportunities for Year 10 and 11 students.

One of its most successful initiatives has been (and still is) its four year Technician Engineering Apprenticeship Programme aimed at young people.

The Programme is SEMTA-approved (Sector Engineering Manufacturing Technologies Association) and is a collaborative venture coordinated and administered by Seco’s People Development Manager, Zoe Wood, in conjunction with numerous Seco staff (acting as either mentors or trainers), and Midland Group Training Services (MGTS).

Explains Zoe Wood:

“The apprenticeships we offer provide are practical and focus on the skills manufacturers need now and in the future

“The emphasis of our Programme is on nurturing the individual…giving each the opportunity to develop and grow…and equipping them with the skills and knowledge to make a success of their chosen careers.”

Seco Apprenticeship Programme

The latest recruits onto the Programme are Tom Hampton and Emma Roberts, both aged 17, who are currently in the second year of the four year Scheme.

Having completed their first year’s off-the job element of the programme, delivered by Midlands Group Training Services (MGTS), both apprentices are now working four days a week at Seco’s state-of-the-art Technology Centre in Alcester, and are also attending MGTS’ training facility in Redditch, on a day release basis, where they are studying for the BTEC Level 3 qualification.

Tom, who attended the RSA Academy Arrow Vale, Redditch and Emma, who was at Studley High School, Warwickshire may well be on the same Apprenticeship Programme, but the routes they took to get there were very different.

Tom’s story

Always having an interest in ‘how things are made’ and ‘how things work’, Tom Hampton always wanted to be an engineer. His grandfather works in manufacturing and, to test out his assumptions that he wanted to pursue a career in engineering once he left school, he made sure his Year 10 work experience occurred in an engineering environment.

As it turned out this was at Seco’s Technology Centre in Alcester.

Says Tom:

“The one week work experience I spent at Seco sealed the deal. I was determined to apply for one of Seco’s Technical Apprenticeship position, and fortunately I was accepted onto the Programme.

“Having spent the first year at college learning the basics, I am now developing my skills further and am currently working on 3-axis vertical machining centres (equipped with 4th/5th axis rotary tables), setting up and machining ‘real’ jobs in the Custom Tool facility.

“Seco is a great company to work for. It’s innovative and interesting work, and all the staff have been really supportive and make sure I’m involved in everything that’s going on.”

Emma’s story

Engineering was one potential career path Emma was considering when at school. Weighing up her options between studying full-time at College or entering the world of work via an apprenticeship, things crystallised when she found out about (and subsequently applied to be accepted onto) Seco’s Technician Apprenticeship Programme.

Says Emma:

“When I came for the interview at Seco and saw the set-up - it was like ‘WOW’…this is great.

“I am working in Seco’s Custom Tool operation and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve just completed an intensive and practical module on milling, and I’m now getting to grips with the inspection process.”

“In just a few months I’ve become more independent and confident.”

Seco is looking after its interests and is actively involved in debunking the myth and perceptions (especially amongst young people) that engineering is ‘dirty’ and mainly comprises ‘dead end jobs’.

Concludes Zoe Wood:

“Our Programme is tough but also interesting and rewarding. It provides paths to numerous engineering careers and it ensures that our apprentices develop the requisite skills and aptitudes (we and) they need to take up full-time positions and progress within the company. Our apprentices are important and valued members of the Seco team - and without them we, as a company, would not be able to grow or address our own skills shortages.”

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