Chemigraphic Apprenticeship Scheme 2014.

Working with our training partner, Central Sussex College, we have over the past year been able to develop a high quality work-based training schedule that allows our apprentices to gain a recognised vocational qualification as well as gaining invaluable work-based skills and knowledge here on site.

The aim of our scheme is to enable our apprentices to get an understanding of all the core elements and processes from each of the functional departments within our business during the 2-year duration. They do this by working closely with our in-house training department and alongside carefully selected mentors from each department. Some of the core skills they will learn are:

• Materials handling/location-based stores systems/lean manufacturing principles
• IT systems (CAD/database/office skills)
• SMT processes (component identification/screen printing/placement machine operation/quality control)
• Conventional processes (component forming/placement/clinching/operating wave-flow, selective soldering, and conformal coating machinery/manual soldering skills)
• Wiring (cable forming/crimping/routing/testing), as well as unit assembly
• Test processes (using test procedures, measuring impedance/voltage/signals/waveforms/ using ATE equipment/IC programming/fault-finding)
• Procurement/sales/customer service/HR skills

During the scheme each apprentice's performance is continually monitored and assessed and toward the end of the scheme we will help them make an informed decision as to what area is right for them on a more permanent basis.
One of the driving forces in establishing the Chemigraphic Apprenticeship Programme was led by a personal passion for apprenticeships from Paul Owen our Production Director. Paul says:

"Having started my working life as an apprentice straight out of school, I feel it is really important for young people to start to develop their future careers at an early stage. The structure of our apprenticeship scheme has the right balance of college based education coupled with hands on practical experience across all areas of the business. This gives each individual a total overview of each key process plus the key skills required to perform. The goal for me is that the apprenticeship programme just becomes the thing that we do, it's a natural part of talent development within the Company."

We believe that Apprenticeships provide real, measurable business benefits: they bring talented, enthusiastic and motivated people into the organisation and demonstrate our commitment to investing in candidates who have a keen interest in Electronic Engineering from our local communities.

Our apprenticeship scheme is now an integral part of the Company's Talent Management Strategy. It is designed to maximise our apprentices' potential and provide our organisation with a talent pipeline as we grow and develop the business. All of our apprentices receive a high level of support, training and coaching to help them reach their goals both internally from the management team and their colleagues and additionally from their designated college assessor.

After our first year running the scheme we have reviewed what we have achieved with our apprentices, their line managers and other key stakeholders and are now developing a strategy to build and improve on this year's success. We have now committed to employ a further two apprentices on our 2014/15 scheme.

21-year-old Luke Leppard, one of the first apprentices to join the scheme says:

"I started the apprenticeship scheme in September 2013, and have since completed a Level 2 BTEC at Crawley College and am one year into my NVQ in Performing Engineering Operations. When we started, we were given a timetable, indicating that we would spend some time in each of the four departments. We would be able to learn all about the areas in the company, and how they all work together, giving an overview of everything the company does. I followed this schedule for 9 months, until the opportunity arose to be trained in the sales department. I am currently still working towards my NVQ qualification, but I am now in a permanent role and am really enjoying it. Throughout my first year at Chemigraphic on the apprenticeship scheme, I have developed my knowledge in electronics, learning a lot from all the people that I have met, and have progressed into a role that I enjoy and feel comfortable in. It is a great way to learn new skills and gain solid foundation knowledge about electronics and the processes of a manufacturing company."

Apprentice 2014 2 Apprentice 2014 2

 Top row:  Luke Leppard (BTEC level 2), Jake Winch (BTEC level 2), Tyron Noakes (BTEC level 2)

Bottom row:  Ryan Furlong (BTEC level 3), Lewis Ellmers (BTEC level 2), Julius Pinter (BTEC level 4)

We frequently encourage the apprentices to collaborate and work together with a mentor to build the team-work skills that we consider are essential to Chemigraphic's culture.