In the wake of the pandemic, it’s important that workshops begin taking steps with the future in mind as we rebuild a sense of normality. Yorkshire-based family business Pelican Engineering outlines how it is committing to the future.
Despite the disruption of the pandemic, Pelican Engineering is currently in the process of training 20 apprentices within its 160-strong Castleford workforce. It has recruited six apprentices this year and it plans to recruit a further six young people in 2022.
The 102-year old company, which partners with some of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers to supply leading edge commercial vehicles, coaches, and buses, is continuing to see sustained growth and is expanding its team.
Working with vehicle manufacturers DAF and MAN, it supports apprentices through a structured three-year training scheme that comprises on-the-job training working with a time-served technician, as well as two-week blocks of ‘classroom’ learning. After completion, the apprentices are qualified as Level 3 HGV Technicians.
Richard Crump, Managing Director of Pelican Engineering, comments: “We started our training scheme almost 20 years ago, recognising that, with the shortage of skilled labour in the sector, we needed to be proactive and develop people with the skills we required to secure the future of the business.
“The initiative has proved extremely successful, not only equipping a whole generation of HGV technicians with the skills needed to pursue a rewarding career, but also bringing vital new talent into the industry.”
Paul Bugg, Group Services Manager at Pelican, adds: “Working with some of the world’s leading commercial vehicle suppliers, we have been able to develop a first-class training programme, including some apprentices being trained on electric commercial vehicles. We have also adapted to offer apprenticeships within our zero emission passenger vehicles division having this year appointed our first apprentice to train on our state-of-the-art Yutong electric buses.
“It’s great to see so many young people with enthusiasm and potential coming into the business and also choosing to make a career with us – around 70% of our apprentice technicians go on to secure permanent positions with Pelican.”
Twenty-year-old Josh Waring of Featherstone, a third-year apprentice body shop technician, explains why he joined Pelican. He says: “I’ve always been interested in mechanics, my dad works in the body shop at Pelican so I’ve grown up hearing about the business. The people here are really friendly and helpful, it’s a great place to learn and I’m excited to have the opportunity to enter such a good trade. I know that as a qualified HGV technician, I can make a good living and have a secure future ahead.”
Richard Crump continues: “Bringing new talent into the haulage and passenger transport industries is vital as these sectors keep the British economy moving. While young people are sometimes attracted by the apparent glamour of service and tech businesses, the transport industry continues to offer secure and rewarding long-term recession-proof career opportunities with great prospects for progression, and it’s important that we do all we can to get this message across. The demand for large passenger and goods carrying vehicles will never diminish and, in fact, will most likely increase with skilled technicians always being needed to maintain these vehicles.
“The development of a wide range of transport and logistics sector-based apprenticeships in recent years is proving popular, providing formalised learning and a structured framework for new recruits entering the industry. The apprentices benefit from three years of on-the-job experience, combined with classroom learning so that they have the core skills they need, as well as a nationally recognised qualification, as they embark on their careers. They can also enjoy the benefit of being paid while they learn and not having any training costs.
“With so many businesses across every sector in the UK now competing to bring young people into the workplace, it’s more important than ever that the leading players in the transport industry are proactive with their recruitment and training. We must invest in attracting and nurturing new talent, and apprenticeships offer a great way to do this, ensuring the business and the sector has the people equipped with the skills we need for the future.”