New Apprenticeship to tackle skills gap in engineering and manufacturing

A leading local college has been working with a global engineering company based in Falmouth, and the Cornwall Manufacturers Group, to create a new Apprenticeship programme that will address a skills shortage in assembly and quality control.

The new programme, designed by Truro and Penwith College and Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group, has been approved by awarding body City and Guilds and the pair have been consulting with employers in the sector to create enough Apprenticeship vacancies in Cornwall to make the programme viable ahead of its launch in September 2018.

The programme has been supported by the Cornwall Manufacturers Group, with two of the Group’s members, WES Engineering Solutions and Flann Microwave already confirming they will also recruit under the new Apprenticeship. This has solidified the viability of the programme which will start in September 2018, and plans are already in place to create a second programme that will offer the first group the opportunity to train to degree level.

Apprentices recruited under the new Apprenticeship will take up the position of Apprentice Manufacturing Engineer, a job role that will require them to work as part of a team to provide technical support to a business’s engineering and manufacturing function including; capacity planning, engineering drawing, performance and improvement solutions, quality control, inspection and procurement to name a few. The Apprenticeship qualification will focus on a core programme of essential knowledge and skills, as well as optional units to target the specific needs of each employer.

Expanding the College’s already extensive range of engineering Apprenticeships, the new Apprenticeship will be a four year, level three programme. Once live, the College and Watson-Marlow will start work designing another new Apprenticeship programme that will offer Apprentices and employers involved, the opportunity to continue training to degree level.

Engineering Apprenticeships in Cornwall

Representatives of the Truro and Penwith College Apprenticeship Team, Engineering tutors, Watson Marlow, WES Engineering Solutions and Flann Microwave ahead of a meeting on 12th Feb to finalise content of the new Apprenticeship.

Watson-Marlow, who produce pumps and associated fluid path technologies for food, pharmaceutical, chemical and environmental application all over the world, have a history of offering quality careers and boast an exceptional staff retention rate of 27 years.

Darren Etherington, Production Director at Watson-Marlow commented: “We have been working with Truro and Penwith College for a number of years and have seen a many high quality employees progress through Apprenticeships in Machinist Manufacturing, Mechanical Maintenance and Welding and Fabrication. These programmes have given us the opportunity to produce high quality engineers capable of producing some of the finest technical components in our industry. We need the same level of quality from our assemblers, who use these components to produce the industry leading products we are known for. This is a highly skilled role and one that is notoriously difficult to recruit into, hence discussions started around the development of this Apprenticeship, to tackle the skills gap and create a career path for Cornwall’s next crop of engineering professionals”.

The College is thrilled that the launch of this new programme coincides with the government’s ‘2018 The Year of Engineering’ campaign.

Tom Moran, Customer Development Manager at Truro and Penwith College said: “It has been a privilege to work with Watson-Marlow and develop a programme that we believe will have a positive impact on the sector, create some fantastic opportunities for local people and contribute to the government’s focus on boosting engineering skills across the UK in 2018. Early adoption by members of the Cornwall Manufacturers Group is a significant indication that engineering employers need an option to grow their own Manufacturing Engineers in-house. We are encouraging these employers to come forward asap as talented full time engineering students will be completing their studies at the College this summer and it would be fantastic to offer them another progression option to ensure more of this talent is retained in Cornwall”.

Employers in the Engineering and Manufacturing sector who are interested in finding out more should contact the College Apprenticeship Team on 01872 242711. The Team are currently accepting registrations from individuals interested in training as an Apprentice via the same number and are on hand to offer advice and guidance.