There’s no getting away from the fact that industry is facing a skills shortage. Cutting tool innovators, KYOCERA SGS, have been playing a key part in addressing this through the apprenticeship programme they have run since 2008. The scheme has grown even bigger and better over time, starting with just one apprentice a year, then increasing to four and now with seven apprentices in 2019. The starting age of apprentices at the company ranges from 16 years and mid-20s and from level 2 up to level 5 HND.
Finding and recruiting the right person for each apprenticeship isn’t always easy. But KYOCERA SGS have drawn on their strong links with local colleges to make it happen. In the past they’ve worked with Reading, Newbury, Basingstoke, Slough and Bracknell & Wokingham colleges. Their preferred provider is now Farnborough Technical College.
Not content with the impact they are already making in nurturing the skills of the future, KYOCERA SGS are set to start working with UTC Reading to offer work experience to young people aged 14 to 18. They will then look to recruit most of their future apprentices through this scheme.
There is still a perception that industry apprenticeships only cover the core aspects of engineering and manufacturing. But while the majority of KYOCERA SGS’s apprentices study Mechanical Engineering, the company has also taken on apprentices in Accounts and Finance. Mechanical Engineering apprentices gain valuable first-hand insight into KYOCERA SGS’s products and processes by spending the majority of their time working in the production department on a range of manual and CNC machines. With so much going on across the business, all of the apprentices gain exposure to other key areas such as logistics, technical, planning and customer service.
KYOCERA SGS’s apprenticeship scheme is directly benefiting the business as well as the apprentices themselves, with the company keeping on the majority of those who have completed their studies to the desired level. The cycle continues with past apprentices contributing to KYOCERA SGS’s work in advising and supporting current apprentices through their journey.
Ian Holliday, Manufacturing Manager at KYOCERA SGS, said:
“In industry, it is vital to have the right skills in place as well as the right tools. We are proud of the success of our apprenticeship programme in helping to develop the engineering talent of the future. Our apprentices are vital to the growth and the future of the company, particularly as we see recruiting people with the right skill set and work attitudes becoming more challenging. A number of our former apprentices are now some of the most skilled and valued members of our workforce.”