Apprenticeships are the smart choice for father and son engineers

Metalcraft - 2015 apprenticeship intakeAN apprentice engineer from Chatteris is following in his father’s footsteps thanks to the support of Metalcraft’s apprenticeship programme, helping young people into engineering careers.

Bradley Mead, aged 17, was one of ten first-year apprentices to join Metalcraft last September and is working towards completing a four-year apprenticeship. His father Graham has worked as a CNC machinist at the Chatteris-based manufacturer since 1998, after starting his own career with an apprenticeship in the 1980s.

This week (14th – 18th March) marks National Apprenticeship Week and Bradley is one of the most recent success stories in a 100-year history of apprentices at Metalcraft. More than 40 per cent of the workforce completed some form of apprenticeship with the company, which has taken on 28 apprentices since opening the purpose-built Fenland Engineering Skills Centre (FESC) on-site in 2010.

Neil Kirby, apprentice training manager at Metalcraft, said: “We have invested heavily in our programme to help support young engineers, particularly with the development of the FESC, which serves as a training school not just for our own apprentices but for the wider community too.

“With the centre going from strength to strength, we now have the facilities and the structure to take on ten apprentices every year going forward. That is a fantastic intake for a company of our size.”

Bradley hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a CNC machinist after completing the four-year programme, which offers the chance to nurture practical skills alongside classroom-based learning covering all aspects of engineering including fitting, machining and welding/fabricating.

The Metalcraft programme includes a two-year NVQ qualification and further two-year advanced apprenticeship, giving young people the chance to learn hands-on skills in the Fenland Engineering Skills Centre as part of a broad, skills-based curriculum.

Bradley said: “I wanted an opportunity in engineering or manufacturing and I knew I wanted to do something with my hands. I knew an apprenticeship would give me an income on top of learning and my dad told me from his own experience how it would teach me the right way of doing things. I enjoy the machining side of the job and I’m hoping to follow my dad into machining at Metalcraft.”

For more information on Metalcraft’s apprenticeship programme or FESC training facility, visit or call 01354 692 391.