In September 2016, nine budding engineering apprentices started their working life with Gestamp Tallent. After a rigorous selection process by the organisation Paul Dodds, Matthew Bradley, Declan Ryan, Euan Gordon, Kieran Paterson, Joel Bates, Jordan Gallone, Liam Hubbard and Flynn Leybourne were all told they were successful in their application.
They started studying at Hartlepool College five days a week for the first year of their apprenticeship. The apprenticeship they all started on a Level 3 Engineering Manufacture Apprenticeship Framework, following one of the three pathways; Engineering Maintenance, Toolmaker and Technical Support.
Year one of the apprenticeship consisted of the apprentices being in the College’s industry-standard Skills Academy and engineering specialist classrooms. Three and a half days a week were spent in the Skills Academy with the apprentices gaining excellent practical skills and vital hands-on experience in an engineering setting. The apprentices spent one day a week in the classroom gaining the relevant knowledge required to complete the engineering qualifications of the apprenticeship.
In May 2017 Gestamp Tallent decided they wanted to transfer the apprentices from their current Framework to the new Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Standard. This apprenticeship is a lot more robust with three seven-hour practical exams at the end of year one, known as the foundation phase gateway assessment, which determines if the apprentice is competent to progress to year two. There is also an End Point Assessment (EPA) at the very end of the four-year apprenticeship which determines if they are a competent Engineering Technician.
This cohort were the very first apprentices in the North of England to complete the foundation phase gateway assessment, where all nine apprentices passed at the first attempt. These assessments are carried out in the College, but as they were the first in the North, the Awarding Body was present to also observe how we assessed the practical exams and how the apprentices performed. A glowing report was given by the awarding body for all those involved.
All nine apprentices completed a Level 3 Diploma (a technical certificate delivered on a day-release basis) in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering with distinction grades in all units.
All nine also successfully completed a two-year Engineering Higher National Certificate, this was on top of their apprenticeship and every apprentice completed with a high-grade profile.
These apprentices are the first cohort to successfully complete the EPA as Engineering Technicians from over 100 apprentices on the same Apprenticeship Standard at the College.
Matthew Bradley (pictured), Toolmaker and Tool and Die Maintenance Technician said “During my time as an apprentice I developed and grew both professionally and personally, I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an apprentice learning different skills and knowledge within the workplace and the classroom. It has given me an understanding of World Class Manufacturing, which could not have been reached without the support of Gestamp Tallent and Hartlepool College of FE”
Paul Dodds, Engineering Maintenance Technician said “The foundation practical training at the College gave me the basic practical skills needed to get started in the working environment for these skills to then be expanded and improved on over the next three years. My personal behaviours and skills have improved over the four-year apprenticeship. I am confident in my abilities to perform the problem-solving tasks within my job role and can confidently communicate with different departments to get any maintenance issues resolved.”
Euan Gordon, Engineering Maintenance Technician said “I believe the apprenticeship on a whole went well. I have picked up many skills throughout the course of the apprenticeship. I have received training both at college and on-site to increase my job knowledge. As the role of a maintenance technician, it has moulded me into someone that is more confident and proactive. It has enabled me to look at problems in many ways and come up with sufficient solutions. This is due to being faced with different problems every day at work when attending breakdowns. The apprenticeship has improved my communication skills as I must liaise with people from all different departments within Gestamp Tallent on a daily basis. Better communication leads to better teamwork and a better outcome can be achieved.”
Mark Heslop, Tool Room Manager at Gestamp Tallent said. "Having apprentices coming through the business is extremely important as it gives us the opportunity to train them into highly skilled technicians, which also gives them a great chance to step into various other important positions within the company. Hartlepool College is where it all starts and attending the college gives them a great foundation to build their skills set ."
Hartlepool College currently has over 800 apprentices working with more than 300 employers across a variety of sectors. We are hosting our first Online National Apprenticeship Week between February 8-14. For more information >> National Apprenticeship Week (Online) For further information on the apprenticeships and courses call us on 01429 808682 text us WhatsApp 07956368276 or use LiveChat here.