A day in the life of a Tridan Apprentice by Paul Coupland, Machine Shop Manager

As Machine Shop Manager, Training is without doubt, one of the most important areas of a business that is often over looked. We work in an Industry that for many years has suffered with a skills shortage, and let’s be honest, good skilled workers are hardly two a penny in today’s climate. 

At Tridan, we recognised this and have acted to ensure that we, as a company, are in the best position to grow and nurture our own talent. One area we have invested in, is the Modern Apprenticeship, working alongside our local college, we feel that we provide one of the best schemes in our area, where they are treated as one of the team, and are working alongside skilled machinists on a daily basis. 

We have had a strong apprenticeship scheme in operation for over 10 years. Many of our existing staff served their apprenticeship with Tridan, and have since progressed to hold key positions within the organisation, including myself.  

Over the last 5 years we have made improvements to our selection intake. Using both practical and formal interviews. This provides us with the opportunity to assess the candidates in various situations, not just as a nervous individual sitting in front of us.  

The welfare of our Apprentices is key to their success, we have recently appointed one of our highly skilled machinists to Apprentice Co-ordinator, his role is to oversee the training and collaborate with the local college. We feel that this is a major improvement to an already strong relationship, a view shared by the local college.  

“As a Work-Based Learning Assessor for Colchester Institute I have worked closely with the management team at Tridan Engineering facilitating apprentices through their programmes, both within the workplace and at college. This includes project managing all aspects of the apprenticeship, liaising with Tridan for work-based elements and assessing the apprentices within their environment. During this time Tridan and I have built up a strong professional working relationship resulting in the apprentices being fully supported and exposed to real life working challenges on a daily basis. With the new addition of Tom Kidd as Apprentice Co-ordinator, not only will the apprentices receive further guidance we will be able to continue our relationship developing both current and new apprentices to become well rounded engineers, ensuring a bright future for this industry.”

Tom Smith , WBL Assessor/Trainer Mechanical Engineering, Colchester Institute 

We currently have 7 apprentices within the business, all at varying stages within the process. I asked two of them, Brandon (1st year Inspection apprentice), and Dan (1st year CNC Milling apprentice), how they are settling in at Tridan, why they chose to come into Engineering and more importantly why they chose Tridan. 

(Our apprentice Brandon is on the left and our apprentice Dan is on the right)

Why engineering? 

Brandon – “I chose engineering as I had always wanted to take this career path, I had based my subjects at school around this.”

Dan – “Pretty much the same as Brandon, I have always been very hands on and practical, so it was an easy choice.”

Why Tridan? 

Brandon – “I applied for a few apprenticeships, but after going through the interview process, I found that it was the best scheme on offer in the area.”

Dan – “Tridan offered the best fit in terms of what I want to achieve, it was also the best scheme I applied for.”

How are you settling into life at Tridan? 

Brandon – I feel I’m settling into life at Tridan and progressing well, so much in fact, that I already feel part of the Inspection team.  I am enjoying the type of work as it is varied and being in a busy department that services the whole shop floor as well as checking parts for despatch, the level of work is constant, so I am always learning new skills through the training I am receiving as part of my duties. There is a good working environment, this enables me to feel, that if I ask for help, help will always be available.   

Dan – Although at college I am in my first year I have been with Tridan for 2 years. Everybody in the department I work in has helped me settle in as well. I am encouraged to work using my own initiative, but as I know help is always near, this has made me feel more like I am a valued member of the section, rather than just the apprentice. I enjoy working at Tridan, the chance I am given to learn how to use the different types of machines and controls. I am constantly learning new skills, and I find the variety of parts I machine fascinating, especially within the type of sectors that Tridan are involved in.   

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