PA is committed to high quality apprenticeships
Packaging Automation is committed to high quality engineering apprenticeships. Now in its 52nd year, the British designer and manufacturer of tray sealing and pot filling machinery is proud of the long standing engineering apprenticeship which it has offered for more than 30 years. Since 2001, PA has had 50 apprentices/trainee engineers, a total of 32 HNC’s, 11 HND’s and 7 engineering degrees. Recent press coverage of apprenticeships has been mixed, and as a result of the rise in university tuition fees there has been a sudden increase in the number and variety of ‘apprenticeships’ on offer. However, concerns about the quality of some of these schemes have also been voiced. PA finds no problem attracting suitable candidates each Spring when the annual apprentice recruitment drive begins and has recently had to introduce an in depth full day selection program to guide the selection of the successful applicants.
Because PA’s scheme is employer driven and is designed to produce highly skilled individuals it combines formal training, further education on a day release basis and on-the-job training. It also requires a significant commitment from the recruits who will be expected to undertake the 4 year training plan. Each individual follows a personalised plan equipping them with a significant range of practical skills supported by NVQs at levels 2 & 3 and BTEC qualifications at Level 3 National Certificate /Diploma a level 4, HNC.
The scheme offered is IMechE approved and enables apprentices to achieve an Engineering Technician (EngTech) qualification. This allows young people to study for a recognised qualification whilst earning. On completion they are then encouraged to continue with their higher education and continue to study to HND (level 5) or undertake a degree qualification. (e.g.B Eng(Hons) in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering). PA has many individuals who have graduated and currently has a further one who is studying at Manchester Metropolitan University. We are keen to develop professional engineers and support our apprentices to achieve Chartered Engineer status
James Sydenham is 19 years old and has been an apprentice at PA for 3 years He says “As an apprentice at PA I have been able to develop a wide range of skills both practically and academically whilst working towards various nationally recognised qualifications."
PA has found that an apprenticeship scheme appeals to bright enthusiastic young people who would rather learn through a vocational practical scheme rather than in a classroom based environment. The scheme offered by the company exposes these youngsters to a wide variety of disciplines before they have to decide which area they will specialise in. Throughout the four year period, they are seconded to the systems (machine programming), mechanical design, tooling design, manufacturing, fabrications, assembly and service teams and are tasked with fulfilling and worthwhile jobs. For example they could be tasked with the design of a machinery component which they then manufacture on one of the machining centres. Or as part of the service team they may accompany qualified engineers to customer sites overseas as well as in the UK to attend to machine maintenance callouts or breakdowns.
George Pottle is 20 years old and has been an apprentice at PA for 2 years. He says “PA is a great company to work for, I have been provided with first class training and have been given the opportunity to go on to further my education to enhance my skills”.
The apprentices appreciate the fact that many employers nowadays value experience combined with qualifications above purely educational qualifications. PA is proud of its apprentice scheme which enables it to ‘grow’ its own talent and identify the individuals who will become the managers, machinery designers, systems engineers, sales engineers, and project engineers of the future.
Past PA apprentices have successfully taken team leader and managerial roles within the business bringing a broad range of experience that the company values and consequently the company benefits from having a continuous flow of home grown talent.