An apprenticeship scheme to attract fresh engineering talent has proved so successful for Hastings-based Marshall-Tufflex that it is considering extending it to other areas of the business.
The cable management specialist, which has its manufacturing base in Hastings, East Sussex, has taken on four apprentice engineers in its Engineering Department. A fifth vacancy has yet to be filled.
“Engineering resource was identified as a big problem for us,” said Steven Baldry, Marshall-Tufflex Group Personnel Development Manager. “To help fill this gap in what is a critical area we’ve invested in an Apprenticeship Programme to attract young people into engineering so we may develop and grow the technical skills needed to meet our demands. The programme has proved so effective we’re considering broadening it to encompass other areas of our business, allowing for the development of good practice and skills to aid our future growth.”
Nationally there is a huge shortage of engineers, with statistics showing that more than 50,000 jobs need to be filled each year to meet industry demand for workers with engineering skills.
Marshall-Tufflex has worked with local training provider SIGTA to recruit and train the apprentices – Jon Aherne, Elliot Finch, Liam Shepherd and Josh Hayler – who are all assigned mentors within the business. Each apprentice is working towards an NVQ Level 3 Advanced Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering. The company is also looking to increase its collaboration with STEM Sussex, part of the University of Brighton, to help support the development of careers in engineering and engaging with local initiatives such as ‘Own Grown’, a project in Hastings and Rother to help young people enter the world of work.
Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye MP who held a Careers Fayre at the ARK William Parker Academy, Hastings, earlier in the year at which Marshall-Tufflex was an exhibitor, said: “We are so fortunate to have such an array of industries offering a wide range of careers, opportunities and apprenticeships here in Hastings.”
Underpinning the Fayre was the message to young people that there are prospects for them in Hastings, as ARK William Parker Academy careers advisor Marie Byas explained: “The purpose of this event was to ensure students are aware that there is a career and a future for them in Hastings.”
This view is shared by Marshall-Tufflex Chief Executive Paul Hetherington, who has made it clear he is keen to promote opportunities within Marshall-Tufflex to job seekers in Hastings and the surrounding area. “Hastings has been good to Marshall-Tufflex during its 60 years in the town and it has always been important to us to give something back, usually through our charitable trust. However, we also want to develop local talent and keep skilled workers in the town. Our Apprenticeship Programme is a really positive step towards achieving this,” said Mr Hetherington.