“We need to look to the future. Apprentices are the future.”
For Duncan Stamp of Northampton-based Cosworth, the future of the company is clear, with apprentices holding the key to the ground-breaking technological advances so crucial to automotive success.
The machinist, who doubles as an apprentice trainer, said: “We want to expand and we've been through quite a tough period through the recession. We know now that we've got a future and we want the apprentices to be that future.
“We have a large gap in our workforce and we need to fill that gap, we need people to take the company forward into the future. We thought apprenticeships were the correct way of doing it, we want to train our own staff.
“Apprenticeships weren’t pushed for a very long time, everybody was told university, university, university which is a viable option but we now know that people need to go out and get apprenticeships and there's a different way of going into a career.”
Duncan has been training apprentices for the last 15 years and has been impressed by the standard of people that he gets through the college.
He said: “I got an email this morning from one of our apprentices who’s working with McLaren on their new car and McLaren have actually emailed to say how impressed they are with him and what he's doing.
“We’ve got apprentices in a number of different departments, engine build, quality, machining and production engineering and they work with the people in those departments who are passing on their skills. We should hopefully have a seamless roll all the way through into the future.
“I would recommend running an apprenticeship through Northampton College. My advice to other employers would be to just take on an apprentice, you’ll be surprised at how helpful and constructive they will be.”
An apprenticeship with Coca Cola is giving Northampton College students an invaluable insight into a potential career working for one of the biggest companies in the world.
The partnership has seen the global drinks giant’s largest independent bottler – Coca Cola European Partners - take on its first apprentice at its Brackmills base.
The company employs 25,000 staff who deliver a range of products including Fanta, Oasis and Schweppes to 300 million consumers across 13 countries.
Associate director of supply chain, Clare Bottle, said: “Across Great Britain we have 22 apprentices in our supply chain and in Northampton we had our first apprentice, Shemaiah Cosgrove, join us last September.
“With Shemaiah we are getting the opportunity to mould the skills and experience she has in such a way that she develops the abilities and knowledge that is important for our business.
“It’s helpful for us to be a big part of that person’s learning at an early stage of their life.”
The company has room for a staggering 63 million cans of Coke at its Northampton warehouse.
Apprentices are given the opportunity to learn a range of skills across the business, working in a host of different departments such as the stock team, the gatehouse and the quality team – where students can learn about the importance of record-keeping compliance.
Mrs Bottle said: “Working with apprenticeships is the way for our business to go and I’d recommend Northampton College to other local companies. They have a great track record of working with local employers.”
Corporate gas and electricity supplier Opus Energy has been employing apprentices from Northampton College since 2012, offering students the chance to work in one of the most progressive companies in the UK.
The Moulton Park based firm has won plaudits for its commitment to staff development and has seen 44 apprentices come through its doors, with many working their way into senior management roles.
Melanie Berman said: “We are very keen on working with the local community and offering apprenticeships is a good way of offering opportunities for job roles to local youngsters.
“They bring lots of creativity, some fresh ideas, new thinking and lots of enthusiasm. If they have got the right attitude I think that goes a long way to making the decision to take somebody on.
“As long as they have got that sort of proactivity about them and want to learn, we can bring the rest to the party and work with them on that.”
Opus Energy have used the skills and knowledge of apprentices to quickly grow the company, becoming a force to be reckoned with in a competitive industry.
Mel added: “We are very lucky to have retained many of our previous apprentices. We like to ‘grow our own’ so we have them from the beginning and then the talent stays with us right through to senior management in some cases.
“We are refreshing the apprenticeship scheme now and looking at ways to grow it some more so this is a very much a part of our future.
“We work very closely with Northampton College and we are pleased with the relationship that we have.
“We meet regularly to discuss how the scheme is going and also the college come to us and have one on ones with the apprentices themselves to see how they're getting on.”