The pilot will see John Guest’s apprentices visit Arburg’s factory in Lossburg, Germany to learn more about how the plastic injection moulding machines they use every day are put together. In exchange, Arburg’s apprentices will visit John Guest in the UK to understand how the company utilises Arburg machines to manufacture its range of push-fit fittings, used in industries including plumbing, air and pneumatics, drinks dispensing, automotive, and blown fibre.
John Guest’s apprenticeships co-ordinator, Darryl Sheldon, expects the exchange to teach the apprentices a lot more than engineering skills alone. He explained: “As well as technical knowledge, we believe the greatest gains for the apprentices will come from less obvious areas. They will be working in a company and a country with different cultures, as part of different teams, which speak a different language. For many, this will be their first extended visit away from friends and family in a work environment so it will contribute a lot to their growth and professional development.”
John Guest has run an active engineering apprenticeship scheme since 1990, and started a specialist injection moulding apprenticeship in 2015. The company works closely with local colleges and universities, including a 25-year skills partnership with Kingston College in London. Arburg’s apprenticeship scheme stretches back to 1964, when its previous managing director, Herbert Kraibühler first joined the company.
It is hoped that this programme will be successful, and become the first of many schemes that the two companies operate across the continent, helping to trade skills throughout Europe.