With more than a century of industrial experience in expanded metal manufacturing and fabrication in our company, we have a wealth of expertise that we gladly share and promote through our apprenticeship programme.
It’s National Apprenticeship Week this week and in celebration of this, current and former apprentices have been reflecting on their time with The Expanded Metal Company… and providing some pearls of wisdom for anyone considering an apprenticeship.
Max Tennant joined The Expanded Metal Company’s apprenticeship programme in 2018. Since then, he has been supporting the team with tool manufacturing, maintenance, development and testing activities while learning a wealth of new practical skills.
“I’m in my fourth year as an apprentice in tool making. My general day to day activities consist of maintaining and manufacturing press tools and other tools, such as expanded metal mesh knives.
“In my opinion, an apprenticeship is a great opportunity to achieve a high-level qualification whilst gaining experience in the engineering and manufacturing industry.
“An apprenticeship is all about gaining confidence, not only on the job but also in life. It is a brilliant first step to set up a career for life in a pathway of your choice.”
Ben Job, an apprentice tool setter joined the apprentice programme in 2019. He joined alongside Daniel Wearmouth and Michael Snowdon – our apprentice machine setters.
“I’ve been here just over two years now, it’s good but really challenging,” says Ben.
“I have had nothing but positive experiences here. But, as with most new things there are hard and difficult bits which I’ve had to overcome.
“When I first started it was a hefty workload, but with time and experience I am now used to running the machines and I’m finding it easier to set them as well.
“The biggest piece of advice I can give to any apprentice is to write everything down, no matter how small or silly it may seem. The work you do as an apprentice is so different and diverse that having it written down gives you something to go back and refer to. I’d also add to take the time to learn your practical skills, they’re a real plus!”
“I’m studying towards a career in engineering and The Expanded Metal Company’s apprentice programme has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to reach my goals.
“It’s a great place to work and I think the people are really friendly and there is lots to learn and lots of people to learn from.”
“It’s really interesting moving around the mill, working on different machines and with different people. I always pick up a few great tips.
“From being on the machines I have learnt that I can work independently, which is equally rewarding.”
Kalem initially joined as a machine setter and is now a technical support engineer within our fencing and fabrication team. Kalem ensures that production planning works seamlessly and coordinates closely with suppliers and customers with orders as well as preparing and adapting CAD Drawings.
“I’ve been with the company for four years and I’m now a time served fabricator and welder, having finished my apprenticeship in November 2020.
“Because of my fabrication expertise I get involved in a wide aspect of roles such as prep and despatch through to plasma-cutting, which is great, as no two days are the same and I’ve learnt so much from the varied experiences.
“My advice for any new apprentice would be to have a mentor – and make sure you take advantage of their knowledge and experience so you learn all that they know. And also persevere as you will have tough days but as long as you stick at it you’ll get the benefits of a great career.”
Combined with classroom-based learning, the apprenticeship programme enables our apprentices to gain hands-on experience and skills at our 25,000+ sqm site in Hartlepool.
Philip Astley, managing director, The Expanded Metal Company, commented: “We are proud to play a part in helping young people from our region to develop specialist skills.
“Our apprenticeship programme is a vital component in our workforce development strategy and is helping us to honour our commitment to develop our future workforce and provide routes to careers in manufacturing and engineering.
“It has been a real pleasure watching our current apprentices grow and develop these past few years – they have strong careers ahead of them.”
The Expanded Metal Company has a new cohort of apprentices starting in March, who we are excited to welcome to the team.