Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week, a government-backed event to raise the profile of apprenticeships across the UK.
For Leyland Trucks, apprentice programmes are part of the fabric of the business, with a long history of apprentices based at its state-of-the-art site in Leyland, Lancashire, where it produces the full range of DAF Trucks for the UK and European market.
Ivan Shearer, HR Director at Leyland Trucks, said the company is currently recruiting its 2018 apprentice intake: “The apprenticeship programme has always been an important element of Leyland’s employment and retention strategy. While apprentices continue to be offered opportunities within our assembly areas, roles have now been expanded to include placements in the business, design engineering, fabrication, IT and maintenance departments.”
Apprenticeships at Leyland offer a mixture of on-the-job training in conjunction with formal learning via partner colleges. On joining the company, every apprentice is given a structured plan for their development which includes a clear and logical sequence of rotations between departments as they move from one learning area to the next.
For 21 year-old first-year apprentice Ian Aspinwall, the chance to complete an apprenticeship helped answer his desire to further the skills learnt at A-Level while earning a living. Ian, an automotive engineering apprentice, lives in Southport, commuting to the Leyland site. He said: “I did work experience here during High School, and then after doing my A-Levels I realised Uni wasn’t for me, so decided to apply.
“I am really enjoying it, we rotate across the whole manufacturing facility, so we understand exactly how the process works and I’m finding I am far more engaged in the college work, as I can see its use in the workplace.
Ian added: “A lot of apprenticeship programmes don’t offer the chance of a long-term job or career plan, but that isn’t the case at Leyland, and this is something which really appealed to me.”
Fellow apprentice Eloise Howard (19) joined the Leyland Trucks Business apprentice programme in its parts division and is now in her second year. Eloise, who completed A-Levels in Business, History and Biology, said: “I did apply for university but felt it would just set me back, whereas an apprenticeship would help me work my way up and give me a clear path.”
Eloise completed her two-year level 4 Business Administration qualification in just over one year, and has worked in the customer service, technical service and materials departments. She is currently working towards a Chartered Manager Degree apprenticeship, part time, while working. Eloise added: “I have had so many opportunities to understand different parts of the business, and to build my knowledge and skills. I always tell people it is the best decision I ever made.”
Ivan Shearer continued, “Our primary aim is to bring apprentices on-board and equip them with the skills necessary to meet our future needs. We find that those with a thirst for learning often continue to develop throughout their career.”
Leyland’s apprentices are sourced via a comprehensive campaign which includes dialogue with local schools and colleges, advertising with the apprenticeship service and raising awareness of opportunities internally with current employees.