Like most manufacturing companies, Ash & Lacy has an ageing work force, and finding employees with the kind of skills needed has proved to be difficult. In the interests of safeguarding the future by plugging the “skills gap”, the company decided to employ two apprentices.
Ash & Lacy chose Sandwell Training Association as a partner in this venture, and Shaun and Mitch joined the company in November 2012. The first year of their apprenticeship has been completed after combining two days per week at STA, studying for NVQ level 2 in Performing Engineering Operations, with 3 days per week at Ash & Lacy Perforators.
In their time with the company the two apprentices have gained experience of a range of manufacturing activities including tool making, maintenance, and machine operating. They have been enthusiastic and eager to learn, and both are developing skills quickly.
The company has now committed a further two years, in which the lads will step up to advanced apprenticeships, working towards NVQ level 3. This will entail day release at STA and four days per week at Ash & Lacy. They will soon specialise in one discipline, with further education at night school, funded by the company, being a likely next step.