Kidderminster-based bellows and machinery protection specialist Beakbane is extending its apprenticeship programme to ensure it has the skilled workforce it needs for the future.

Beakbane already has three apprentices on its payroll, has just recruited two more and has now committed to recruit a further two in 2012.

The apprentices, who are recruited and trained in conjunction with the Worcester Group Training Association, undergo a training programme that can last up to four years. This includes up to one year of off-site training followed by a period working in the company while receiving further college training on a day-release basis.

Beakbane’s first two advanced level apprentices, Craig Fox and Matt Barnett, joined the company in 2008 and are now both entering the final six months of an HNC in Engineering (Manufacturing) at Worcester College of Technology. Both moved on to the HNC course after receiving good City and Guilds grades.

They were joined in 2010 by Gavin Strange, who is now working on his NVQ level 3 Craft Apprenticeship.

This year’s intake, Alistair Handley, a maintenance apprentice, and Luke Collins, a technical apprentice, started their off-site year of training in September.

As well as its apprentices, Beakbane is also sponsoring Adam Chrimes, a member of the design team, on a day-release BTEC course that could then lead to an HNC.

Roy Legg, Beakbane’s Manufacturing Manager, says: “Training young people is vital to the future of Beakbane and the future of UK manufacturing as a whole. When you look at the typical age profile in an engineering company like Beakbane there is a concentration of skilled staff in the age range from 45 to 50. If we want to stay successful we need to nurture new talent.”

He adds that the success of the current apprentices had reinforced the decision to recruit two more – a craft apprentice and the company’s first commercial apprentice in 2012.

It isn’t just Beakbane that sees the benefit though, as apprentice Matt Barnett comments: “It is a great opportunity to continue to study, as well as get the practical experience.”

If you are interested in an apprenticeship at Beakbane, please contact the Worcester Group Training Association