One UK automotive supplier that continues to invest heavily in the engineers of the future is Gestamp.

The manufacturer of metal components for use in car body structures has been taking on apprentices for more than 30 years and generally has around 20 young craft learners at its state-of-the-art factory in Four Ashes, Wolverhampton.

These are joined by a further 68 older workers using vocational learning as a way of upskilling, including 55 who are completing Lean Manufacturing apprenticeships at the company’s dedicated training centre.

Gestamp’s Philip Carr wouldn’t have it any other way. He is hugely passionate about ‘growing your own staff’ and believes the combination of theory and practical training is a win-win for both parties. So much so, he’s just signed off recruitment plans for a further six in the next intake.

“Apprentices add so much value and they add it at an early stage. The notion you must wait three or four years for them to have an impact is not true and never has been,” explained the Learning and Development Manager.

“We see it as the best way of developing the skills we need now and in the next three, five and ten years and there is little doubt in my mind that these young men and women have played a key role in helping us grow our automotive business from our Wolverhampton plant.”

He continued: “Our Apprentices can go all the way to the top in the company and, in the last few years, we’ve had a Plant Director who started on the vocational route, as well as current toolroom and engineering managers. These are critical jobs and need world class skills.”

Gestamp in the West Midlands continues to be a major 1st tier supplier to the motor industry, supplying JLR from its site in Four Ashes.

The business has recently won high profile door ring and battery tray projects for one of its largest customers and these production lines will feature many people who started out as an apprentice.

Philip concluded: “Without a doubt, they supercharge our business and the way we operate. They have been trained in our culture and enjoy the very best training and skills – all the way to a potential degree if they want it. People ask why do you invest in Apprentices? My answer is simple…why wouldn’t you?”

In Comm Training and Business Services