ExMesh - Metal Security Solutions

First UK fencing manufacturer to be awarded Secured By Design status

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Apprenticeship Programme Delivers Skills For Life

National Apprenticeship Week is a Government initiative that takes place each February to raise awareness of the opportunities an apprenticeship programme can deliver.

This year’s event takes place from 5th – 11th February 2024 so here we’re shining the spotlight on The Expanded Metal Company’s apprenticeship programme which has started the careers of a number of ExMesh™ employees.

The current apprenticeship programme was introduced in 2017 and currently, there are seven apprentices working at The Expanded Metal Company’s Hartlepool manufacturing site in a variety of roles.

Committed to providing new opportunities for young people in North East England, developing careers and sharing our specialist expertise a number of apprentices also work in the production of our ExMesh™ range.

We’re proud to be contributing to closing the UK’s skills gap in engineering and manufacturing. With a number of apprentices going on to take up full time roles within The Expanded Metal Company and ExMesh™.

The 17th annual National Apprenticeship Week showcases and celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships can have on individuals, communities, local businesses and regional economies.

Through this year’s theme of ‘Skills for Life’, National Apprenticeship Week is encouraging people to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and how employers can develop a workforce with future-ready skills.

Here we share experiences from a selection of current and former apprentices.

“The apprenticeship has allowed me to be guided into the workplace rather than finding myself in the deep end from day one,” says Joshua Wray from Hartlepool, who is working with us as a Planning and Purchasing Apprentice and is undertaking a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship through Hartlepool College of Further Education. “I am learning lots of different things and am able to mix it up.”

Keaton Carroll, who is undertaking a Mechanical Engineering Level 4 (HNC) Apprenticeship through Hartlepool College of Further Education, was inspired to take up this career by his grandfather, who worked in manufacturing. “I feel excited and grateful for the opportunity to work at such a great company,” says Keaton, who currently supports the manufacture of our filtration mesh. “I hope to experience how to effectively run numerous machines.”

Holly Appleby says she has “never looked back” after completing a Level 2 Customer Service Apprenticeship in 2022 while working at The Expanded Metal Company.

She is now working in our ExMesh™ security division in a security product planner and purchasing position and is undertaking a Level 3 Data Technician Apprenticeship. “Mark Proctor (The Expanded Metal Company’s head of UK Sales and Service) helped massively with my apprenticeship, giving me full support,” Holly explains. “The company always provides you with opportunities to progress and better yourself.”

Tiegan Cranney, who joined as a customer service specialist apprentice in 2022, also joined us full-time after completing her apprenticeship, and is now working with The Expanded Metal Company as a sales and service representative.

“The apprenticeship was the best career decision I have made and has set me up well for the future,” says Tiegan, who undertook a Level 3 Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship at The Expanded Metal Company.

‘My apprenticeship training started in order entry. From there I gained experience with CRM and quotations, along with soft skills such as communication and time management. I also had some involvement with market research.

“Further along in my apprenticeship, I was given the opportunity to begin training on costings. This has allowed me to develop my understanding of the machinery and tools we use, as well as gaining insight into how each mesh is made.

“New opportunities were always being presented that allowed me to enhance my learning.

“I can’t wait to see what my future holds here at The Expanded Metal Company.”

And Kalem Ainsley is another success story. Kalem started with us as an Engineering Apprentice in 2017, working as a machine setter and in production of our ExMesh™, and by 2020 he had completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Manufacturing and Engineering and an NVQ in Engineering Technical Support.

He’s since completed an HNC Level 4 in Mechanical Engineering at East Durham College and a HND Level 5 in Mechanical Engineering at Teesside University – both funded by The Expanded Metal Company – and in his role as technical manager, is an integral part of the ExMesh™ team!

Philip Astley, Managing Director of The Expanded Metal Company, said: “The experiences of Josh, Keaton, Holly, Tiegan, Kalem and all of our apprentices show how individuals can thrive at The Expanded Metal Company, and are able to kickstart their careers here with our support.

“National Apprenticeship Week is a fantastic initiative and we’re delighted to support it in 2024 and every year.

“Engineering and manufacturing companies should see apprenticeship programmes as an investment in the future, both in their own businesses and in UK manufacturing as a whole.”

Jo Lloyd, Head of People and QHSE at The Expanded Metal Company added: “It’s been an absolute pressure to welcome our current cohort of apprentices who have taken up positions across the company.

“The company has a great track record of providing training and developing careers and I look forward to seeing how they progress.”

For more information on National Apprenticeship Week, visit https://naw.appawards.co.uk/