Anglo-German apprenticeship exchange pilot takes off

UK engineering firm, John Guest, and German machine manufacturer, Arburg, have launched a unique cross-continent exchange pilot aimed at upskilling their apprentices.

The four-week apprenticeship exchange pilot will see John Guest’s final year apprentices visit Arburg’s factory in Lossburg, Germany to learn more about how the plastic injection moulding machines it uses every day are put together.

In exchange, Arburg’s apprentices will visit John Guest in the UK to understand how the company utilises Arburg machines to manufacture its range of innovative push-fit fittings, used in industries including plumbing, air and pneumatics, drinks dispensing, automotive, and blown fibre.

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The relationship between John Guest and Arburg stretches across more than 30 years, with John Guest purchasing over 150 of Arburg’s plastic-injection moulding machines since 1982. In fact, no manufacturer in the UK uses more Arburg machines than John Guest, which makes its own moulds unique to the design of its products.

John Guest’s apprenticeships co-ordinator, Darryl Sheldon expects the exchange to teach the apprentices a lot more than engineering skills alone: “As well as technical knowledge, we believe the greatest gains for the apprentices will come from less obvious areas.

“They will be working in a company and a country with different cultures, as part of different teams, which speak a different language. For many, this will be their first extended visit away from friends and family in a work environment, so it will contribute a lot to their growth and professional development.”

John Guest has run an active engineering apprenticeship scheme since 1990, and started a specialist injection moulding apprenticeship in 2015. The company works closely with local colleges and universities, enjoying a healthy 25-year skills partnership with Kingston College in London.

According to the two companies, it’s hoped that this pilot programme will be successful, and become the first of many schemes that the two companies operate across the continent, helping to trade skills throughout Europe.