Life is sweet for newly-qualified engineer Tom Heppenstall.
Tom, 23, from Heaton Chapel, Stockport, is the first of Manchester jam and spread manufacturer Duerr’s engineering apprentices to graduate, following a three year programme.
Hot on the heels of the government announcing an apprenticeships levy in the Autumn Statement, with the aim of creating three million new positions funded by larger businesses via extra taxation, Duerr’s is leading the way with its development programme for young workers.
Tom is the first graduate of the Manchester-based company’s apprenticeship scheme that currently has 2 workers receiving on the job and classroom training.
The Duerr’s Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship scheme sees young people gain industry recognised qualifications, including a BTEC in Engineering Operations & Maintenance, NVQ in Engineering Maintenance and HNC in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.
Apprentices complement classroom learning with on the job experience, working across various parts of the Duerr’s manufacturing process under the guidance of a workplace mentor.
Debut graduate Tom first came to Duerr’s aged just 19 in 2011. He joined as a placement student, working in the peanut butter side of the business, before joining the apprentice scheme in 2012.
He attended Trafford College one day a week to gain his qualifications and also had a number of work-based projects to complete as part of his training. Following his graduation, Tom is now a Junior Food Manufacturing Engineer.
Tom comments: “The Duerr’s apprenticeship has given me qualifications that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my working life, while also setting me on a career path.
“Working as well as learning was perfect for me as I was able to take things from the classroom straight into the workplace, which students don’t get if they are doing a full-time course.
“Apprenticeships are brilliant for giving young people a focus, with the promise of a job and qualifications and the ability to earn while you learn.”
Richard Duerr, Sales and Marketing Director at Duerr’s, says: “As a family business, we treat everyone who works for us as one of our own. That’s why we are especially keen to nurture and develop young people and set them up for a long association with us.
“Having an apprentice scheme lets us provide the training and development that turns a raw recruit into someone jam-packed with knowledge.”
The second apprentice to complete the Duerr’s scheme, Sam Boswell, is due to finish the programme next summer.
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