Investing for the Future – Cornwall’s Next Generation
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Bott continues to invest in Cornwall’s young people and the next generation of engineers.
Apprenticeships have long been at the core of our business and with just over 20% of our workforce successfully benefitting from various apprenticeship schemes, it’s a trend we’re not about to alter. A good percentage of our longest serving employees, many of whom have been here their entire working life, have successfully risen up the corporate ladder from apprentice to higher management and executive-level positions. Simon Willshire, Design Manager is one such success story, and so it’s fitting that he now heads up the apprentice scheme here at Bott in Bude.
When asked about his drive to inspire young people, Simon commented:
I’m passionate about going out to schools and colleges to meet with students to talk about manufacturing and hopefully, ignite their interest in the creative aspects of engineering. I’ve lived the apprentice’s story and am testament to the fact that a successful, varied and lifelong career can be achieved via this route.
Simon is also our local Enterprise Adviser and STEM Ambassador, which means he is regularly out and about at career shows and meeting local students to talk about his work and the exciting, creative opportunities available within both the engineering and manufacturing industries. Budehaven Community School is one of Simon’s regular school visits as it’s a primary source of a new and exciting generation of Cornish engineers.
Simon’s talks are made as fun, innovative and interactive as possible. He endeavours to reveal just how creative and expansive the engineering industry can be and also runs an active work experience programme in house, as well as collaborative school projects such as the Greenpower Car Project. Classes regularly come to visit our workshops where we hope to inspire innovative thinking through the exploration of real-life scenarios.
Bude is a beautiful town and we’re very proud of our Cornish heritage, but due to its remote location, career opportunities are minimal with many jobs purely based on the tourist industry and with little to no, long-term security. There’s also a huge lack of degree-level jobs in this area of North Cornwall let alone opportunities within major engineering and manufacturing outfits. We, therefore, feel a strong sense of duty to our local community to create great career opportunities, financial security and a clear, progressive career path for as many of our local youngsters and workforce as possible.
This is a win-win situation for all concerned. As one of the largest employers in Bude, this is something that we are keen to maintain, so we invest heavily in our apprentice’s future, developing their work ethic and increasing their skillset so that they can grow in confidence and knowledge.
In return, our trainees become fiercely loyal to our company and bring a fresh perspective and modern innovations as they progress from the shop floor up right up through management ranks. This combination of positive attributes fully integrates them into the long-term future of the business and we, in turn, are provided with a highly-skilled, next generation of engineers.
Other important benefits to the company include the development of our talent resources in-house, which enables us to quickly fill shortages with highly-skilled, in-house staff. Not only do they close the skills gap, but they also free up experienced staff to up-skill and thereby improve productivity. According to the National Apprenticeship Services, a typical apprentice delivers productivity gains of over £10,000 annually, a figure which we would endorse.
Apprentice and former Budehaven pupil Karl Davis, attended this year’s Cornwall Skills Show, he said:
It was really great to be asked to be an ambassador for the company at this year’s Skills Show. I’ve got a tremendous amount of loyalty to Bott – they’ve trained me up, developed my career, strengthened my life skills and now, to top it all off, they trust me enough to go out and talk to students about my career. I felt honoured that they had such confidence in me.
Since writing this story, Karl has completed his apprenticeship and is now a qualified engineer. He now starts a new position at Bott, as Team Leader in the Production area for the evening shift. We would like to wish every success in his new role.
If you think that you’d like to follow in Karl’s footsteps and would like to know more about Bott’s current apprenticeship schemes in Bude, please contact Simon.Willshire@bottltd.co.uk
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