His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, paid a visit to one of the North East’s leading automotive parts manufacturers to view the facilities, meet employees and apprentices and hear how the company is creating education opportunities on Teesside.
The Prince of Wales recently visited ElringKlinger (GB) and met newly appointed staff who were taken on by one of Redcar’s major employers following the recent closure of the SSI Steelworks and job losses at Boulby Potash.
The CEO and managing director of ElringKlinger (AG), Dr Wolf and Ian Malcolm respectively, welcomed the royal guest at the factory’s site on Kirkleatham Business Park.
The Prince was then invited to tour the 41,000 sq ft factory site extension which was completed in 2014, marking the final stage of the company’s 50th year on Teesside.
The original 100,000 sq ft factory was extended to increase overall production by 50%, catering to rising product demand for its specialty gaskets and shielding technology.
This expansion has since provided ongoing employment opportunities for local people and the wider area.
The tour included the recently installed Hidromode Press Cell, used for manufacturing underbody heatshields; the Platine Line and NEFF Press, an automation of engine bay heatshield production; and the Servo Press – which is the latest technology for gasket production.
A group of apprentices were also on hand to discuss their experiences and roles within the business.
Six new apprentices joined the company in 2014, while a further 13 took up their place at ElringKlinger (GB) in 2015 as part of its in-house training programme.
The business is also trialling its own engineering higher apprenticeship, which was rolled out in 2015 to a wider network of potential recruits.
The site’s single wind turbine was also highlighted, which was installed in 2014 and currently generates 55% of the 140,000 sq ft site’s own renewable energy – used to power the company’s facilities.
The tour concluded with the signing of the visitor’s book and the unveiling of a plaque on the factory floor to commemorate His Royal Highness’ visit.
The managing director commented: “We are very proud of our team and our facilities, and to be able to showcase this to such a prestigious guest was an absolute pleasure.
“His Royal Highness’ visit marks the start of another important year for ElringKlinger (GB). Skills and training investment continues to be at the top of our agenda and our recently launched training strategy, which aims to upskill the whole workforce over the next three years is testament to this.
“We are also investing up to £780,000 in providing the skills required to meet the changing needs of the company. At present we employ over 270 staff locally and this number continues to rise, with growth over the next five years forecasted to double the size of the business.”