Apprentice toolmaker helps save employer £240,000

An apprentice toolmaker who designed and produced parts for an automated robotic system has saved his company almost a quarter of a million pounds by keeping the work in-house.

Jordan Clayton, 19, is a fourth year apprentice with Mason Pinder Toolmakers, part of the Polypipe Group which manufacturers plastic piping and ventilation systems.

As an apprentice toolmaker, Jordan is responsible for the manufacturing, stripping and servicing of plastic injection mould tools, but his greatest achievement has been the modification of a robotic cell that inserts rubber seals into plastic moulded fittings.

Instead of paying the £300,000 quoted by an external company to produce the cell, Jordan and three of his colleagues were tasked with doing it themselves.


Jordan Clayton, AMRC Training Centre apprentice toolmaker.

Jordan Clayton, AMRC Training Centre apprentice.


They more than rose to the challenge, delivering the project for £60,000 – just 20% of the price quoted. In addition, Jordan and the team also eliminated the need for the manual insertion of the seals, saving a further £40,000 each year.

Jordan was required to design some of the system and once the final design had been assessed, to produce parts by machining, welding and sparking.

He started his learning with the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre in 2016 as a Level 3 Advanced Apprentice, and is now working towards his Level 4 HNC in engineering qualification.

Director of the AMRC Training Centre, Nikki Jones, said: “Now, more than ever, building and maintaining skills within the workforce is an essential part of the mix if manufacturers are not only to recover from this pandemic but to be productive, resilient and regrow.

“Apprentices have a key role to play in that: they are tomorrow’s engineering innovators and the foundations of the future skills base.”

Jordan chose an apprenticeship for a number of reasons, including the chance to ‘earn while you learn’, to gain hands-on industry experience, and to be involved in something he’s passionate about.

Factory manager at Mason Pinder, Simon Golightly, said that over the past three years, Jordan has shown how adaptable he is and has progressed through each department with ease taking everything in his stride.

“On his journey through Mason Pinder, Jordan has developed a varied skill level and demonstrates this on a daily basis. He has progressed to working on his own using his own initiative, he also understands that he is constantly learning and developing which is a fantastic attribute to have and allows more senior/experienced toolmakers to guide him when and where necessary.

“Jordan also has the added advantage of offering reverse mentoring to the senior engineers, offering new and innovative ideas on many projects that Mason Pinder encounters.”


*Header image courtesy of Depositphotos