Atlas Copco Compressors’ apprenticeship scheme helps address UK engineering skills gap
Atlas Copco Compressors is training compressor engineers of the future and, in the process, helping to address the UK’s engineering skills gap through its comprehensive apprenticeship scheme. The scheme, which provides apprentices with the practical engineering skills and commercial experience required for a career in the compressed air sector, is also helping Atlas Copco to maintain the high standards of compressor engineering excellence for which it is renowned.
Donald Draffan, a first year apprentice based at Atlas Copco’s Cumbernauld Service Centre commented: “My training has already given me real hands-on experience with the latest compressor technology which is great, but it is also giving me an insight into the commercial side of the industry and how an organisation such as Atlas Copco operates. I really believe this combination will enable me to develop all of the necessary technical and business skills and expertise needed for a career as a compressor engineer”.
The apprenticeship scheme, which Atlas Copco operates in partnership with local colleges, provides apprentices with real-time experience and training within Atlas Copco’s engineering environment, based at any of its regional service centres or the Systems Engineering facilities located at the company’s UK headquarters in Hemel Hempstead.
Commenting on the thinking behind the scheme, Paul Frost, Manager of Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead division said: “By running our own apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with local colleges we are able to recruit suitable young engineers who will develop on a personal level whilst reinforcing our own engineering capabilities for the future. This helps to maintain the high quality products and support for which we are well known, as well as long term benefits for the trainee, Atlas Copco and ultimately, our customers."
There are currently six apprentices on the scheme with the number of places available each year varying, depending on the specific requirement of the company’s business divisions at the time. The average apprenticeship lasts between three to four years, depending on the relevant technical college course embarked upon and the experience and qualifications of the individual student. As a starting point, student candidates require A to C grades for GCSE English, Maths and Science. A typical example of a course curriculum for an apprentice service engineer includes completion of NVQ2 Performing Engineering Operations in year 1, a BTEC National Diploma Level 3 in years 2 and 3, and from years 1 to 4 an NVQ3 company qualification in engineering maintenance.
Atlas Copco Compressors is the GB sales and service operation of the Atlas Copco Group providing oil-free and oil-injected stationary air compressors, gas and process compressors, turbo expanders, nitrogen generators, air treatment equipment (such as compressed air dryers, coolers, and filters) air management systems, and custom designed engineered packages.
Atlas Copco Compressors’ sales and distribution network means that specialist compressed air advice and service is always within easy reach. A team of over 80 service engineers operates across the country, to ensure maximum running efficiency and minimum downtime at its customers' sites.
In the United Kingdom, Atlas Copco also handles the sales and marketing of construction and mining equipment, portable compressors and electric power generators, industrial power tools and assembly systems – all backed up by a nationwide sales, distribution, service and maintenance network.
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