Apprentices are being given an insight into the world of cutting-edge technology thanks to a partnership between JCB Academy and a South Derbyshire firm.
Engineering company Carfulan Group recently added another apprentice from the Rocester-based technology and business school to its ranks.
Charlie Warrington is the latest addition to the company, which is based at its Advanced Innovation Centre, in Foston.
Cafulan aims to give its apprentices a unique insight into the world-leading technology it supplies to designers and manufacturers of top-quality products.
This is done across three divisions - OGP UK, SYS Systems and ZOLLER UK - and covers the supply and servicing of multi-sensor inspection equipment, 3D printing and tool pre-setting and measurement, as well as turned-part measurement solutions, for some of the world’s leading brands.
Charlie, 19, who lives in Melbourne and will train under 3D printing expert SYS Systems, is the latest beneficiary of an initiative between the Carfulan Group and JCB Academy.
Three other apprentices are now 12 months into a three-year specialised programme to develop their formal engineering knowledge and skills.
They must attend JCB for two of those years to gain general engineering certification, with an additional bolt-on year following their initial training giving them an NVQ qualification.
Charlie said: "3D printing is an area I’m really interested in and I’m keen to find out a lot more about it. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, it’s nice to get hands-on.
"I'm just focusing on learning all I can about the machines and progressing forward in my career. All the people here are very friendly, they've made me feel so welcome and I feel like I've settled in well."
Working alongside experienced professionals, apprentices are gaining knowledge on health and safety, advanced maths, computer-aided design software techniques and machine installation and calibration.
Andrew Fulton, managing director and founder of the Carfulan Group, took the apprenticeship route out of school himself and is a big believer in its merits.
He said: "Derbyshire is a globally-recognised hub for manufacturing and, working with JCB and its top-class facilities, we’re only too happy to be able to invest in local talent and help nurture the next generation of engineers.
"Our highly-motivated young apprentices have made such a positive contribution to our operations in the past year and, thanks to hands-on learning in real-world scenarios, it’s been a pleasure to watch their confidence and skills grow. They have so very much to give to the industry and we’re delighted that they plan to do it with us."
The plan is for Charlie to go on to work for SYS, with the other apprentices earmarked for careers with OGP and ZOLLER.
The Carfulan Group has a long track record of success when it comes to apprenticeships.
OGP UK service engineer Steven Fowkes began his career with the firm almost two decades ago and his son, Jamie, is now training there as a service engineer.
Getting to know the apprentices
Name: Cameron Reeves
Position: OGP UK Apprentice (Assistant Applications Engineer)
Best thing about being a Carfulan Group apprentice: “Being among the exciting innovation that comes within the engineering industry and having the freedom of thought to become part of it. One of the things the Carfulan Group does best is help apprentices grow, not only as employees but as people, by creating a work environment in which I can suggest ideas and improvements and know my thoughts will be taken into consideration.”
Name: Jamie Fowkes
Position: OGP UK Apprentice Service Engineer
Best thing about being a Carfulan Group apprentice: “Being given the time and support to learn skills and discover new problems, and being given the freedom to fix them myself. Everyone is very supportive and will try to encourage me to perform to the best of my abilities.”
Name: Ed Cartwright
Position: ZOLLER UK Apprentice Service Engineer
Best thing about being a Carfulan Group apprentice: “This apprenticeship stood out to me as it involved an active role within a leading engineering company and everyone here has been nothing but supportive. Being trusted with bigger and more crucial projects during my apprenticeship shows how you’re treated as an essential member of the team. I’ve developed skills that will go a long way in my future.”
Name: Charlie Warrington
Position: SYS Systems Apprentice Service Engineer
Best thing about being a Carfulan Group apprentice: “Going out on site to help service a machine, as it really feels like you’re doing the job and getting a glimpse into what it will be like once I’m qualified.”