Street CraneXpress sets training goals with new apprenticeship schemes

30 March 2017 by Daniel Searle

UK crane manufacturer Street CraneXpress has launched a series of initiatives as part of its four-year apprenticeship programme to train the next generation of fully-qualified workers.

The initiatives include a ‘Training Passport’, through which apprentices will have their performance monitored and assessed at various stages throughout their training, and the creation of an academy training area at its new workshops in Sheffield.

Apprentices will begin with six months of engineering training at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham, where they will continue to study for one day a week for the remainder of the four-year training programme.

The new schemes were announced during the UK National Apprenticeship Week, and the UK government’s decision to allocate an extra £500m to vocational and technical education to train more skilled workers, to meet the needs of employers.

Ray Fletcher, Street CraneXpress director, devised the Training Passport.

“Last year we had two apprentices on our books and now there are nine, including our first female apprentice,” said Fletcher.

“By the end of the year there will be a total of 12 or 13. That’s a big undertaking, accounting for over 25% of our workforce.
“We are seeing rapid growth as a company, and we needed a strategy to address the skills shortage in engineering.
“It took a lot of time to develop a fully structured training programme, and the fantastic facilities at the AMRC have proved invaluable.
“Over the past 25 years we have always had one or two apprenticeships running. To allow for continued growth and the issue of succession planning, we felt it absolutely necessary to increase these numbers and improve the structure for the delivery of the training for apprentices.

“There were not enough engineers coming through. We tried recruiting from elsewhere, but it’s a massive problem. So, two or three years ago the board decided on a plan for the future. When we are fully up and running, it will give us at least two additional qualified engineers a year. We are very satisfied with the way the scheme is progressing.”

The apprentices are mostly school leavers, added the company, and are taught electrical and mechanical skills in the classroom, in the workshop and on jobs around the country with the company’s qualified engineers. They also work on projects overseen by SCX Special Projects, and control component manufacturer Burnand XH, both of which are part of the Street CraneXpress group.

At the end of the four-year training period, graduates of the scheme can further enhance their qualifications by attending day-release courses at colleges or universities.