TWO local teenagers are forging a career for themselves – and ensuring Redditch stays ahead of the game in engineering.
Tom Jennings and Sam Adams are learning and earning with aerospace company KG Washford of Crossgates Road, Park Farm.
The company supplies jigs, gauges and test rigs for industry giants like Rolls Royce but as orders poured – tripling revenues in just two years – the firm found it increasingly difficult to find suitable engineers to deal with the bursting order book.
“Some years ago, right across the country, when money got tight apprenticeships seemed to stop and it’s only recently that industry has realised there’s a skills gap,” said KGW managing director Phil Brook, who himself started as an apprentice.
“We found it increasingly difficult to find people with the skills we were after and so, to ensure the future of the company and to give something back to engineering, we’ve gone down the apprentice route.”
The firm teamed up with MGTS – Midland Group Training Services – specialists in engineering apprenticeships which earlier this year opened state-of-the-art training facilities in Lakeside, Redditch.
KGW offers paid apprenticeships over four years including full tuition at the MGTS centre, followed by on-the-job training and mentoring, enabling students to achieve industry standard qualifications.
Sam Turnbull from MGTS said: “The engineering industry as a whole has an ageing workforce, and enterprising companies like KGW are always on the look-out for fresh, enthusiastic and capable new talent.”
Sam, aged 17 and from Winyates will be working on the machine shop side of the business while Tom, 18 and from Studley, will be involved in KGW’s test rig and maintenance service.
He said: “Before I came here I did a year in sixth form but I felt the academic path wasn’t for me. This way I know I can have a great career in front of me.”
Mr Brook added: “These young people are the lifeblood of the company and I’m hoping that in 20 years they’ll be sitting where I am now.”
For more on an apprenticeship in engineering, visit the MGTS website.