Employer Partner Case Study: Arrowsmith Engineering

Coventry-based, Arrowsmith Engineering is a specialist in precision turning, milling, thread rolling and grinding, providing the highest quality machined components to the aerospace industry.

It specialises in development works for major world aerospace companies and for the past 50 years, Arrowsmith engineers have helped develop parts for the most advanced aerospace engines in the world. It works in collaboration with a number of institutions including the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to ensure Arrowsmith stays at the forefront of machining technology and techniques.

Arrowsmith has worked with MTC Apprenticeships since the first year of the programme in 2015 after forming a relationship with MTC through a series of research projects: “We have had a link with the MTC since it opened as we have participated in a number of aerospace research projects alongside a number of other SMEs in the region. When we found out about the new apprenticeship programme, we quickly made the decision to get involved,” said Jason Aldridge, Managing Director at Arrowsmith Engineering.

For Jason and Arrowsmith, taking on apprentices is an important aspect of its growth as a business and essential to its success: “Having young, bright people is so important and combining them with your experienced staff becomes the life blood of any SME in the sector. Apprentices bring a youthfulness and when they come from a place such as the MTC, they do things the right way and crucially, have views on how it could work in the future.”

Since engaging with MTC Apprenticeships, Jason has seen the programme evolve from the calibre of apprentices coming through to the support provided by the apprenticeships team: “Our experience with MTC is improving all the time and I really enjoy the partnership that we have. We are at the forefront of technology and we want to be associated with the MTC as it attracts the best apprentices in the area. The follow up from the team has also improved tremendously and all assessments are done in such a way that all our apprentices on programme remain on track.

“MTC Apprentices normally succeed with us and we have a number now who we see as long-term employees. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to make some difficult decisions around our workforce but we kept our MTC apprentices on board as a result of the value they have brought. They are a credit to themselves and our business.”

For the whole team at Arrowsmith, it is the skillset the apprentices arrive with and the can-do attitude that ensures it continues to work with MTC Apprenticeships: “Each apprentice that walks into our workshop from the MTC starts from a solid foundation and they are very confident in their skills, which is testament to the trainers and the team. We don’t expect them to be perfect, but you can’t underestimate the advantage of having bright, talented engineers join the organisation.

“By continuing to work with MTC Apprenticeships, we ensure we have access to the talented engineers of the future. In my opinion the MTC, amongst a couple of other organisations, have changed the perception of apprenticeships which is helping to transform SMEs.”