Manufacturing Champion - EDM Zone Ltd
03-10-2018, 09:21 AM - Views: 566
We are pleased to present our Manufacturing Champion for October - EDM Zone Ltd - a precision engineering company based in Newcastle upon Tyne. In this feature we look at their apprenticeship scheme.
Their apprenticeship scheme is a blended modern Apprenticeship with an additional 2 year learning plan.
As an SME they believe that it is important their employees understand the business infrastructure and how employees contribute to it; which is vital to the overall success of EDM Zone.
At EDM Zone 50% of the manpower is made up of apprentices; however the percentage is higher when examining the workforce based by job function. Their apprentices are hourly staff who are direct working on the product which equates to 78% of the operation staff. Whilst this creates a more challenging environment to manage production requirements, customer demands and ‘On Time Delivery’, It is greatly beneficial to the apprentices. This environment stretches and enhances their learning capacity in real time production.
The purpose for investing in apprenticeships is to give young people the opportunity to gain work experience whilst earning a salary. At EDM Zone their main aim is to educate and give them the competencies as a skilled employee, with the plan to retain the apprentice on completion of the scheme.
As @Paul Wilson says, ‘It is critical for the manufacturing sector and also the community that we strive to invest in the young people and give them opportunities where possible.’
They believe that their apprenticeship scheme gives them greater scope of learning on how a business operates; the challenges a small business can have; and the discipline required to help them develop a strong work ethic.
Having a high proportion of apprentices, equally has significant benefits to their business, it means they develop their skills for the future, create the culture that fits within the working environment and helps them to shape the vision of our business strategy.
Watch video HERE
The apprentices have a clear vision of their learning and their expected learning outcomes. EDM Zone have their own competency framework which contains all the processes and the machinery within the business. This is a detailed framework and is a fully comprehensive training package that can be used as a framework to measure the competency of skilled workers, as well as a learning programme for apprentices.
Each apprentice has a training ‘buddy’ and also a ‘mentor’. The ‘buddy’ is a skilled worker; however, they also use the apprentices to support this as a tier buddy. For example, Year 4 apprentice, will support the training of year 3, year 3 apprentice will support the year 2 etc.
This structured approach allows for the apprentices’ to feel comfortable in their learning that their ‘buddy’ is someone who has recently become competent in those skills gained and they can connect more on the same level of communication.
All apprentices are supervised by competent people until they are equipped with the skills to operate independently. This is a critical quality process for the company to maintain as all their apprentices work on live production.
The contribution the apprenticeship scheme has made to their business is significant. The percentage of the apprentice workforce is of higher proportion to their skilled operational workforce and that is indicative of how Paul Wilson believes they are a significant contribution.
The apprentices feel that they are part of the team and the business from the offset. It gives them the opportunity to learn more in-depth skills than that which other apprenticeship schemes have to offer. The apprentices work on live production and they recognise their contribution is critical to the business; this in turn drives good working ethics.
As part of the business strategy for 2018 – 2019, they will look to continue with the apprenticeship scheme, utilising opportunities such as work experiences/placements to identify potential young talent.
They also believe that they have the capability to help assist training providers by delivering bespoke training programmes at their premises. This is something they will look to explore in the future.
As a small business EDM Zone always find ways to contribute to the community. This can be from environmental improvements to STEM related activities.
They have provided several hundreds of hours’ worth of STEM activity to local schools over 2017-2018, running an Industrial Cadets programme where they give local school children the company’s “Week In Industry” programme; where they do 30 hours hands on in the factory and office – receiving a certificate and medal at the end of a successful week.
They also put on a stand at “Bring It On” a STEM activity showing school children aspects of engineering.
The apprenticeship scheme they deliver at EDM Zone is not only an enhanced development opportunity, but the number of apprentices they have in their organisation is helping to inspire the young talent in the community.
As a member of manufacturing and engineering forums, as is the case for many companies in the area, they struggle to attract the talent pools needed. Paul Wilson firmly believes that within their community they have the young people that have the ability to learn and want to learn. These are the employees of the future and people the company want to retain in the region.
Paul Wilson says, ‘I am an advocate of apprenticeships as they are an integral part of our future businesses and whilst many companies go through economic challenges, it is imperative that we still maintain our support to apprenticeship programmes and make us a strong manufacturing and engineering region.’
EDM Zone were a winner at the Apprenticeship regional awards 2014, identified as one of the City & Guilds top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2014; Highly commended in 2016 for “Made In The North East” and winners in 2017; Going on to win the National Award.
Paul Wilson says, ‘we will strive to support the community in many ways and our apprenticeship scheme is a key element of our business strategy.’
To find out more about EDM Zone Ltd see HERE