Alloy firm fills its skills gap

A Dudley engineering business has set up its own apprenticeship scheme to address a skills gap within its organisation.

Alloy Heat Treatment apprentices (from left) Daniel Mills, Luke Beresford, Chelsea Day, Matthew Reese, Daniel Adams and Dennis Barlow
Alloy Heat Treatment apprentices (from left) Daniel Mills, Luke Beresford, Chelsea Day, Matthew Reese, Daniel Adams and Dennis Barlow

Alloy Heat Treatment on Grazebrook Industrial Park, off Peartree Lane, has worked with Dudley College and Halesowen College to create the scheme to train apprentices in its work in sub-contracted heat treatment of aluminium alloys.

“The selection process was performed by advertising in the local press and carrying out interviews, before selecting appropriate academic support from local colleges for each of the successful candidates,” said AHT quality manager Steve Roberts.

“On the job training is vital to UK businesses but, to work well, apprenticeships schemes need to run with an academic discipline supporting them,” he added.

Three apprentices are now working in the quality department carrying out general metallurgical, pyrometry and inspection duties. There has been an intake of one apprentice each of the last three years.

Another apprentice works in the engineering department on maintenance duties, with others in accounts and reception.

“AHT are currently in the process of investing in the facilities used for serving the aircraft industries. These facilities require the input of the quality department, where three of the apprentices are working.

“AHT’s commitment to their apprenticeship programme demonstrates the long term vision for the longevity and the future success of the business,” said Mr Roberts.

“There are some excellent young people leaving school and college but many of them have no real idea of what sort of career they want to follow," said AHT managing director Adrian Church.

“Over many years industry has been losing skilled technologists and engineers and not replacing them with newly qualified people. Our aim is to motivate a new generation of young people within our small company to train and gain formal qualifications to ensure the long term survival of the business.

“We are trying to find academically bright young people who may not go to university but nonetheless want to continue their studies. So far we have been delighted with the people under training.” he added.