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Sector Focus


Skills


The driving force behind a HGV career


Some 60,000 HGV drivers are needed to keep the UK’s economy in the fast lane – but there is a dearth of funding available for employers to replace them, and that includes the provision of apprenticeship schemes. However one firm is bucking the


trend in that respect, and it is Solihull- based Mobile Freight Services. In 2012, despite the UK still feeling the effects of recession, the company –a


one of very few in the freight industry offering apprenticeships. Unfortunately, a few years down the road, that is still the case. Ian said:


“Four years on and you still have to go a long way to find another transport company offering a purely HGV driver apprenticeship which is frustrating given the much publicised UK driver shortage. “For us, it has proven fruitful, with a steady number of young drivers


coming into the company, easing recruitment and bringing with them a fresh set of ideas, motivation and loyalty. “For a lot of the candidates, this is a great way of getting qualifications


while earning money and in a commercial environment. Most of them are very bright, but didn’t enjoy the standard educational route. Our apprenticeship provided a clear career path for them.”


‘For a lot of the candidates, this is a great way of getting qualifications while earning money and in a commercial environment’


family run distribution business based at Birmingham Airport which has been established for more than 30 years – set up its own apprenticeship programme. According to commercial director Ian Jolly, at the time the company was


On the road to success (from left): Scott Turner, Karl Roberts and Lee Tuffin Among those that have successfully undertaken an apprenticeship at


MFS are Scott Turner, Lee Tuffin and Karl Roberts. Scott was one of the company’s first apprentices and his hard work and


commitment has now seen him progress to become a class C + E driver. Lee Tuffin, another product of the programme, now drives a


pantechnicon all over the UK. The third apprentice, Karl Roberts, wasn’t actually on the driving scheme, but completed a logistics management apprenticeship. In just three years, he has gone from industry novice to become the company’s operations supervisor. Ian Jolly said: “These success stories are only the start and hopefully


they can encourage other businesses similar to ours to start their own schemes. The benefits are clear for all to see.”


Inspiring pupils to become apprentices


Solihull College & University Centre’s Woodlands Campus in Smith’s Wood has welcomed a number of year 10 students who are hoping to pursue a career in the engineering industry. Woodlands Campus is home to


state-of-the-art engineering facilities including manufacturing, mechanical and electrical engineering workshops. The students, who attend a


variety of schools across the region, chose to spend their recent half term holiday learning more about the different routes into engineering. Whilst at the college they met with programme manager for engineering, Rosa Wells, who gave them a guided tour of the facilities. The students spent their morning


in the aircraft hangar seeing the college’s Jetstream 200 aircraft, the ALF502 Turbo-Fan Engines and other latest industry grade tools and test equipment. The students were also able to try their hand at being a pilot for the day using the college’s new facilities in the form of a flight simulator, a replica from a Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. The engineering teaching team


48 CHAMBERLINK July/August 2016


Students touring Solihull College during their half-term break


at Solihull College & University Centre were also on hand to speak with the students about the potential routes into industry. The students were then able to


enjoy a Computer Aided Design (CAD) workshop. For the final stop of the day the


students from the schools were able to meet the students who currently attend the college as apprentices. The apprentices spent time showing the aspiring engineers projects they have worked on and gave the students the chance to ask questions to those who have the knowledge.


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