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Why Apprenticeships Work in the Plastic Injection Moulding Industry

One of the single biggest problems facing most businesses is getting the right staff. When you only have a few people employed in your business, the potential damage of employing the wrong person can be huge. One of the best ways to get an employee that understands the business is to train one and this is where apprenticeships come in.

Apprenticeship benefits

Currently there are around 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies around the country covering some 170 industries and 1500 job roles. The current system has seen a major overhaul that has led to a series of new apprenticeship standards being introduced and this has further encouraged the boost in numbers.

For the business, the benefits are clear. 9 out of every 10 apprenticeship employers are happy with the system and the quality of the apprentices they work with. Nearly 90% of employers say that the apprentice has improved the quality of their business. While being a short term benefit, these apprentices also become a long term asset of the company - 71% stay with the company that they serve their apprenticeship with. Promotions are also commonplace for these high quality employees - 23% receive a promotion within a year of finishing the apprenticeship while 75% take on extra responsibilities within that period.

Working with an apprentice

Here at Malton Plastics (UK) Ltd, we are already enjoying the benefits of the apprenticeship program and have our own apprentice working with us. As part of the training program, we decided to purchase two BOY 15s plastic injection moulding machines. These machines date back to the 1980s and one of them is fully functional while the other isn't.

Our idea is simple - the best way to learn about injection moulding is to learn how the machines work. So by comparing the working model to the non-working model, our apprentice is tasked with getting the non-working model up and running again. This task helps with an understanding of plastic injection moulding techniques and machines as well as the mechanical and electrical side of the equipment.

We believe that hands on work is a crucial part of learning about the job we do. Because we offer a wide range of plastic injection moulding products, ranging from domestic appliance such as vacuum cleaners through to industrial products, understanding the basics means our apprentice can then easily apply this knowledge to different functions.

Our business can see us making components for the agricultural industry one day then mudguards for cycle manufacturers the next. We also have seasonal products such as snow shovels, ice scrapers and even kids' sledges, all working from the same basic principles that can be learned from these old machines.

Conclusion

For us, getting the right staff is about finding people who understand what injection moulding is all about. Or, as with the apprenticeship, instructing a new starter on all the basics then teaching them the various sub-disciplines after this. That way, they have a comprehensive knowledge of the industry and, along the way, discover our passion for what we do that will spur them to stay with us long term.

 
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