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Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and we want to celebrate our brilliant past apprentices. 

Apprenticeships are a terrific way to start a career, whether you are just finishing school or want a change. Below are a couple of examples of two employees who have undertaken an apprenticeship scheme at the beginning of their careers and have progressed into managerial positions. 

What career progression is possible for an apprentice?  

Paul Bedford – Tool Room Manager 

Paul has been working at NMB since his apprenticeship started in 1978. During his four-year apprenticeship, Paul learnt things like turning, milling, fabrication, welding and fitting, working to the Engineering Industry Training Board (EITB) training guidance and learning about various other sections of the NMB Minebea shop floor. After 44 years at NMB, Paul has worked in many roles and is now a Tool Room Manager. This role shows the progression that has been made from when Paul was an apprentice, where he used to be more hands on, to becoming a manager, where he now trains and manages people in his department.  

Paul said: “If I had not done my apprenticeship I would not be where I am today, I do not know where I would be! 

“Back then, when you left school, you were expected to get a job. I never had the opportunity or wanted to go to university. I really enjoyed technical drawing at school so I applied hoping to do a draughtsman apprenticeship, but they did not do that at that time. I was successful in securing one of 20 places for the apprenticeship scheme. 

“During the apprenticeship, the company had an award for the best first-year and best final-year apprentice, and I was fortunate to win both! Going to a workplace is different to going to school: start and finish times are stricter, you go to learn and work hard so the company wants to keep you, so you can earn a living, and if you do it well enough you can progress up the ladder.” 

Paul’s advice for someone contemplating an apprenticeship: “Pick an apprenticeship in something you enjoy or like doing.” 

Andy White – Operations Manager 

Andy started working at NMB Minebea in 1998 after he sent his CV to all local engineering firms. Andy worked in all departments within NMB Minebea during his three and a half years as an apprentice, learning how to set and operate Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and how the NMB UK products were manufactured. Andy is now employed as an Operations Manager. 

Back in 1998, Andy chose NMB Minebea to do his apprenticeship for three reasons: NMB was a large international business, there were opportunities for career development, and it was a high-precision machining environment. 

Andy explained: “I was awarded the Alumni Award in 2009 at the Work Based Learning Awards (Lincolnshire & Rutland) for my achievements post apprenticeship. I was achieving other personal goals including promotions through the business into a senior management role and travelling around the world visiting both customer and Minebea Mitsumi sites. 

“There is no right or wrong way to extend your education, but an apprenticeship can offer some considerable advantages and is better suited to many students. Apprenticeships are certainly not a ‘second best’ choice. For example, many of NMB Minebea’s former apprentices are now working in key positions within our business, including senior management, supervision, engineering and technical roles. Successful apprentices can also go on to gain further qualifications, including degrees, plus a host of specialist skills training. 

“Many of the skills I learned as an apprentice support the key decisions I make on a daily basis.” 

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with NMB Minebea, you are in luck! We have multiple apprenticeship spaces including roles as an NDT (Non-Destructive Testing technician), an engineer, an inspector and a role in the metallurgical laboratory. 

Click here to register your interest.