Iron technology leader Saint-Gobain PAM UK, part of leading materials group Saint-Gobain, is once again supporting the next generation of engineers and manufacturing leaders through specialist apprenticeship schemes, as part of its sustainable development strategy. The initiative reflects statistics published by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, which show a significant increase in apprenticeships undertaken in the 2011/2012 academic year1.
Figures indicate that 502,500 individuals started an apprenticeship between August 2011 and July 2012, up from 457,200 in the previous year. Saint-Gobain PAM UK recognises the importance of such schemes, and continues training initiatives across all divisions of its operations, with five young people currently undertaking apprenticeships with the company in technical design and engineering.
One of the apprentices is 16-year-old Jack Jenderko, who is studying basic engineering skills at Telford College of Arts and Technology. Jack trains at Saint-Gobain PAM UK’s manufacturing site in Telford one day a week. He commented: “Since joining Saint-Gobain PAM UK as a maintenance apprentice, I am relishing the opportunities and challenges I have been given. I have joined a busy workshop that manages a range of engineering tasks.
“I come to the factory once a week, where I am able to put my skills into practice. I have been involved with numerous schemes, some of which are World Class Manufacturing projects. One of the first I undertook was a lighting project, replacing an old lighting system with a new, energy-efficient one. Not only did I gain a lot of knowledge from this project, but also a great sense of achievement.
“I have learned a lot from the people around me at Saint-Gobain PAM UK. It is also good to be able to speak to other apprentices and learn from their experiences.”
Sue Wallbanks, HR Director of Saint-Gobain PAM UK, commented: “It is a privilege to help young people, like Jack, develop their skillset and abilities with our tailored apprenticeship schemes. The value of real, on-the-job training cannot be underestimated, particularly when it can be so difficult for young people to get ahead in their chosen career nowadays.
While the job market continues to become more and more competitive, apprenticeships provide young people with the experience, knowledge and expertise needed to manage the responsibilities of the everyday workplace, and develop a long-term, rewarding career with Saint-Gobain PAM UK. Many of the UK’s current industrial leaders started their careers as apprentices, showing clearly the benefits of attracting high-calibre people into the sector from an early age.”