In one of the largest ever composite industry apprenticeship schemes in the UK, 25 Prodrive apprentices have completed their level 2 NVQ in composite engineering.
The newly qualified group are now working on projects at Prodrive’s Composites factory in Milton Keynes, manufacturing components for a number of British sports and super cars to the construction of the European Space Agency’s new Mars Rover.
With a general lack of skilled composite technicians, in what is an expanding global industry, Prodrive, back in 2013 chose to recruit and train its own young talent. The company worked with the Milton Keynes-based TXM Academy to deliver the programme and through a combination of work-based and classroom training, all now have a nationally recognised qualification and the skills necessary for a career in composite engineering.
Chris Smith, Prodrive Composites operations director, who oversaw the apprenticeship programme, said:
Back in 2013 we employed about 70 staff, but with major programmes coming on stream we realised would soon need nearly 200. There just aren’t that many skilled composite technicians in the UK yet, because it is such a new and growing sector, so our only option was to train our own. It has turned out to be the best decision we could have made and we have a great group of enthusiastic technicians.
The company say the apprenticeship programme has been a success and has already begun recruiting apprentices for 2015, who should be qualified in 12 months.