Leading bus manufacturer Wrightbus has today announced the recruitment of up to 30 new apprentices as it gears up for National Apprenticeship Week (Feb 7-13).
The ground-breaking company plans to recruit apprentices in various roles - including electrical, spray painting, welding, coachbuilding, driveline and engineering. .
Wrightbus is supporting its apprenticeship recruitment drive with an open evening on Wednesday February 9, from 5-8pm, at its Ballymena factory, where people will be able to find out what it is like being a Wrightbus apprentice.
Wrightbus sales and business development director, John McLeister, is a huge advocate of apprenticeships. He joined the firm 30 years ago as an apprentice before working his way up through the ranks.
“We’re proud to say our apprentices are playing a key part in driving the business forward,” said Mr McLeister.
“We eventually want to have up to 10 per cent of our workforce on an apprenticeship, via our various Engineering & Technology Higher Apprenticeship programmes and our general Apprenticeship NI scheme, and this latest recruitment drive will help with that ambition.
“They bring diversity, bags of enthusiasm and a fresh approach to problem-solving.”
Wrightbus apprentices receive on the job training, working alongside a highly skilled workforce who often act as coaches/mentors, along with a college day release programme to back up what they’re learning.
Former apprentice Karsten Hall, who started as a design apprentice and now works as a manufacturing engineer, chose a Wrightbus apprenticeship because he wanted to make a start in the world of work.
“I wanted a job that provided training and opportunities for progression. I was interested in engineering, so I decided to apply for a Wrightbus apprenticeship,” said Karsten.
“From my time on the shopfloor, I gained a lot of hands-on experience with most parts of the build process and a better perspective of how parts are actually assembled and how they can be improved, which helps me in my current role as a manufacturing engineer.”
Wrightbus employee Hannah Currie said: “Learning with hands-on experience made a big difference for me, helping with the progression of my career.
‘The experience working with the time-served tradesmen and women, and having such a variety of technology and buses can help you develop so much more knowledge and skills to help you along the way. There are a multitude of opportunities for furthering your career with an apprenticeship.”
Sean McAleese, Work Based Learning Managing at Northern Regional College, which works with Wrightbus apprentices, said: “Wrightbus has always been a reliable and trusted employer that has worked closely with the College to develop and implement our apprenticeship programmes at Level 2, Level 3 and Higher Level Apprenticeships.
“It is great to see the opportunities that have been provided to young people and existing employees who have undertaken an apprenticeship with Wrightbus as well as the high level skills, experience and qualifications that they gain.
“We will continue to partner with the company to identify their training requirements and look forward to strengthening the College’s partnership with Wrightbus in the future.”
The National Campaign celebrates the contribution that hundreds of thousands of apprentices make every year to the UK’s economy and encourages more businesses to look to apprenticeships as a solution for recruitment, training, and workforce development.
Wrightbus HR Director, Nicola McCloskey, said: “Our apprentices are an invaluable part of our business and we would like to recognise them and thank them for the hard work and effort they put in. They often bring with them new skills and energy, and we’re looking forward to adding to the ranks with this latest round of recruitment.”