Automotive apprentice’s drive claims him top honour

Posted on 10 Jun 2015 by Callum Bentley

An automotive apprentice with flair for manufacturing and helping other workers develop their skills stole the show recently at the 4th annual In-Comm Training Awards.

Josh Watson, who works at Lichfield-based Faurecia Interior Systems, was named as the Peter Wood Outstanding Apprentice of the Year, beating off the challenge of 100 individuals from across the West Midlands.

He impressed judges for his dedication to his studies, combining theoretical learning with an ability to have a major impact on the shopfloor, becoming an integral part of the team in the process.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and The Manufacturer have combined strengths to form a new, unique benchmarking competition, The Manufacturer MX (TMMX) Awards.

For 2015 and beyond, TMMX will be an annual awards programme which provide companies with industry-wide recognition for their achievements, employees and business, alongside the opportunity to gain valuable business improvement advice.

With categories covering the breadth of the industry, there really is an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments and successes of every company.

The awards feature thirteen individual categories, plus ‘The Manufacturer of the Year’ overall winner:

  • Apprentice of the Year
  • Customer Focus
  • Supply Chain Excellence
  • Innovation and Design
  • Leadership and Strategy
  • Partnership with Education
  • People and Skills
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • World Class Manufacturing
  • Exporter of the Year
  • Manufacturing Services
  • Through-Life Engineering Services
  • Young Manufacturer of the Year
  • The Manufacturer of the Year

No business is too big or too small to take part in TMMX, and with June 30 the deadline for entries, make sure you get your entry by following the link.

The apprentice was joined on stage by other winners, including Martin Hardy (Wedge Group) and Michael Kerry Millward (Moog Aircraft Group), who shared the ‘Outstanding Adult Learner of the Year’ title.

It wasn’t just the employees hitting the headlines at the prestigious event, which attracted more than 250 people to the Grand Station in Wolverhampton.

Moog Aircraft Group, Norgren IMI and Baldwins also overcame their peers by collecting the Employer of the Year Titles for ‘Adult Learners’, ‘Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Apprenticeship Learners’ and ‘Business Support Apprenticeship Learners’ respectively.

“When we first started to organise these awards, the apprentice career path was off the radar and there was very little interest in it. What a difference four years make, but we still have work to do to convince young people and adult learners that the vocational route can make a major difference,” explained Rebecca Phillips, In-Comm Training and Business Services.

Other winners on the evening included:

  • Rachel Green (Baldwins): Apprentice of the Year – Business Support
  • Stephanie Sparkes (Integrated Water Services): Adult Learner of the Year – Business Support
  • Marta Pruska (Rubberneck Fittings Limited): Apprentice of the Year – Supervisory Management
  • Ryan Blair (Baker & Finnemore): Business Improvement Techniques Intermediate
  • Luke Godden (Gestamp Tallent): Apprentice of the Year – Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies
  • Mark Chamberlain (Norgren IMI): Most Improved Apprentice of the Year
  • Alastair Green (Truflo Marine Valves): Tom Wood Memorial Apprentice’s Apprentice of the Year

“2015 has been a record year for entries and reflects the fact we have more than 400 people training either at our academy in Aldridge or across manufacturers and professional services firms across the West Midlands.

“The quality has also gone up another notch and this is reflected in our winners, who will no doubt go on to have successful careers in the working world.”

She continued: “We also like to make sure the employers are recognised. Without firms willing to invest in new talent and their existing workers then the skills gap will only grow wider.”

Rebecca continued: “The Awards are only made possible by some great organisations sponsoring the different categories.

“These include Aktrion Group, Aldridge Fabrication, Alpha Drive Engineering, B Mason & Sons, City of Wolverhampton College, Darlaston Rotary Club, Key Precision, Made in the Midlands, Pro-Mil Engineering, Rical Group, Salop Design, University of Wolverhampton and Wedge Group Galvanising.”

In-Comm has been offering industry and commerce a wide range of training and business solutions for 33 years.

The firm has a proven track record of developing Engineering Apprentices through its range of specialist packages, starting with Bronze (delivered at the client’s premises) and culminating with Platinum, which involves 5 days training at its workshop and machining academy.

It has invested more than £350,000 in developing a new Forklift Truck Training Centre and rapidly expanding its Academy in Aldridge to develop the next generation of engineers.