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Makita apprentices are powering ahead

One of Shropshire’s largest employers is developing a new generation of manufacturers and engineers, thanks to a thriving apprenticeships partnership with Telford College.

Makita Manufacturing Europe makes a range of best-selling power tools at its base on the Hortonwood industrial estate. The company currently has five apprentices through Telford College, in the latest stage of a partnership which began in 2017.

Among the latest batch are Chris White, Danny Fox (pictured), Michael Southwell, and Zain Hussain. Chris, Danny and Michael are all on a level three operations and maintenance extended diploma apprenticeship.

Chris, 28, from Little Dawley, works in the production engineering department and his role focuses him on maintaining and repairing the semi-automation and automation equipment on the production line.

“I enjoy my apprenticeship, Makita offers a lot of progression opportunities and I hope to progress within the company,” he said.

Danny Fox, 19, from St Georges, is a former Abraham Darby student. He said: “I always knew I wanted to be an engineer, and there are lots of opportunities here at Makita. I applied for my apprenticeship through the college - it was a good process and got me to where I am today.

“I did an engineering course at Telford College before my apprenticeship which set me up well. Now I’m getting to put everything I learned into practice.”

Michael Southwell, 29, from Lawley, is a former student of William Brookes School in Much Wenlock.

He said: “I went to sixth form and then Manchester Metropolitan University. I then became a steel fabricator but it still felt something was missing and I had more to learn.

“I applied for the apprenticeship because I wanted to further myself, and to work for a company like Makita was a great opportunity.”

Zain Hussain, 19, from Wellington, said: “Apprenticeships are great if you’re looking for a way of building practical skills and learning on the job too.

“I’ve progressed from my college apprenticeship and now have a career in production planning at Makita.”

“I’d recommend apprenticeships, because I’m using all of my knowledge in my role at Makita. Sometimes you question whether you will ever use this in your life – but not on an apprenticeship – you’re using the skills you learn every day.”

He added: “I chose an apprenticeship over university because it’s given me a guaranteed progression into my career. Companies like Makita invest in their staff and keep hold of them once the apprenticeship is finished.”

Makita’s Telford manufacturing plant is the only full-production facility for power tools in the UK and has been successfully running construction on many top line cordless power tools since 1991.

The company has seen major investment over the last few years with many new products being introduced.

They include the LS1219 Compound Mitre Saw, UC405D Electric Chainsaw and the HR45 large rotary with Active ‘dynamic vibration absorber’ - to name but a few of the models introduced to support the European and UK markets.

Richard Annett, general manager at Makita Manufacturing Europe Limited, said: “We have identified the key role apprentices can play in building a strong organisation.

“The enthusiasm and drive our apprentices demonstrate, and their desire to become both qualified and experienced in their own chosen field of work, is a credit to them, the business and Telford College.

“We fully appreciate the work our apprentices undertake with Telford College. These apprentices are already very valued members of our organisation and their respective departments.”

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