SINCE it reintroduced its apprentice programme three years ago, Greenfield Engineering in Holsworthy has gone from strength to strength. Ten of its 65 employees are apprentices and in 2014 it plans to recruit six more – two fabrication welders and four engineering apprentices.
"It's hard to find the necessary skills so we decided to create our own welders," said production manager Simon Walker.
"We've been very lucky in the young people we're attracting. We're looking for individuals with the potential to be team leaders, managers and directors, people who want to learn engineering skills and also want to make a difference."
Greenfield's selection process is rigorous, involving a meeting with the managing director, and this ensures it takes on applicants who are committed to learning.
For those who are selected, the rewards are considerable. Greenfield's core business is punching and bending thin sheet metal, although it also offers welding, fabrication, powder coating and many other services.
Its equipment is state of the art and Greenfield was the first company in Europe to install the highly advanced automated Amada Astro II 100NT servo-electric Robotic Bending Cell with automated tool and hand gripper changers. Such investment in the newest technology enables it to offer high quality, speed and efficiency.
Operating one of the most advanced automated manufacturing facilities in the UK, Greenfield offers its clients a fully managed service for any sheet metal manufacturing project with a professional one-stop solution.
This ranges from initial design work through the entire manufacturing process to fully integrated modular assembly and complete support and backup where required.
Greenfield uses its technology to manufacture office furniture, enclosures, point of sale, lighting, electric and gas fires, and a lot more.
"We are proud of our technology, but the best technology is no good if you haven't got good engineers to operate it," added Simon.
The Greenfield apprentice programme is very successful and a number of its apprentices have won awards for their achievements.
As well as growing its own engineers and welders, Simon said there was a variety of opportunities to progress to other areas such as computer aided design, manufacturing resource planning, and health and safety.
He said: "We're looking for people who have drive and ambition. We want the decision makers of the future."