New Apprenticeship Tradition Forged At Seagate
SPRINGTOWN, Northern Ireland.- The apprenticeship tradition is being revisited and reinvigorated in Derry where Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) has become the first engineering employer in the Province to offer an in-company adult engineering apprenticeship under the ApprenticeshipsNI programme.
Eight Seagate employees, previously employed by the company as operators, have switched to new roles as apprentices with a bespoke structured training programme designed to help them build engineering skills.
Seagate formed a relationship with Engineering Training Services (ETS) who will manage the programme independently and ensure apprentices have the opportunities to earn key achievement milestones, including NVQ Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations, NVQ Level 3 Engineering Maintenance, BTEC National Certificate in Electrical/Engineering and Essential Skills at Level 2 in Application of Number, Communication and Information Technology (if required). The ApprenticeshipsNI programme is funded by the Department for Employment and Learning.
The eight mature apprentices who are aged between 27 and 34 will learn ‘on the job’ and will also study on a day-release basis at the Strand Road Campus of the North West Regional College.
Launching Seagate’s support for the ApprenticeshipsNI scheme, John Spangler, vice president at Seagate’s Springtown facility, said, “We are at the leading edge of technology and innovation but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the past and we know a win-win opportunity when we see one.
“For many generations, apprenticeships have offered individuals the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, experience and career prospects. Companies have also benefited as loyal employees flourish, developing and building skills that are directly and immediately relevant. We are delighted to bring those benefits to our workplace and look forward to our first engineering apprentices completing their programme by September 2011.”
Warren Blair, who has been working at Seagate’s Springtown plant since 1996, is enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead of him. Mr. Blair says, “It’s great to have the chance to improve your career prospects without having to leave a good job to become a full time student. Thanks to the apprenticeship scheme, I can get my qualifications and hopefully move that next step up the ladder. The training at Seagate is not just a matter of shadowing an employee – it’s a very professional and highly structured modern apprenticeship that will bring real qualifications and benefits.”
Welcoming the Seagate initiative, Jim McIlveen, manager of ETS, said, “Current recruitment levels for Apprentices in Engineering are running at only one-third of the requirement depicted in the Engineering Skills Balance Sheet for Northern Ireland. Engineering Training Council (NI) has proposed innovative programmes to address this shortfall.
“Companies like Seagate are exemplars of investment in employee development and in utilising the ApprenticeshipsNI programme for its longer term growth and replacement policies. This will greatly assist ETC (NI) in its efforts.”
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