Apprentices help Krantech to fabricate a brighter future

Posted on 13/08/2015

A Chesterfield-based company is helping to inspire Derbyshire’s next generation of engineers after calling on help from Skills Made Easy, a unique Sheffield City Region programme designed to help businesses overcome skills shortages.

Krantech Apprentices with mentors

Based in the former headquarters of British Coal’s engineering division in Duckmanton, Krantech builds highly specialised equipment for the oil and gas industry. Since the company began trading in 2005 it has grown from just three members of staff to a 58-strong workforce, many of whom have been working with the business since its early days.

Recognising the importance of finding and training new members of staff, Krantech approached Skills Made Easy, which provides free, impartial support and guidance to businesses in the Sheffield City Region.

Ambitious growth plans will see Krantech develop its presence in the nuclear and aerospace sectors and the company is also creating a new purpose-built CNC machining facility near to its existing headquarters. Keen to expand the business, but recognising that the company could soon face a skills shortage, Krantech called upon Skills Made Easy for help, in a bid to recruit new members of staff who were keen to forge a career in engineering.

Since joining Skills Made Easy’s apprenticeship programme, Krantech has appointed eight apprentices over the past two years. The company’s five latest recruits include apprentice fabricator Billy Martin (18) who won runner up in Chesterfield College’s Apprentice of the Year competition earlier this month, gaining full marks in his external exam. Last year, fellow apprentice Jordan Tinsley, also employed by Krantech, was named as the Sheffield City Region’s Apprentice of the Year in 2014.

Company Chairman Mel Myronko believes the training and support offered through Skills Made Easy has proved to be invaluable in helping Chesterfield’s next generation of engineers to build their careers in the industry:

“In recent years, as the company has enjoyed a significant period of growth and expansion, however at the same time, we also realised that many of our long-standing employees were reaching retirement and that the business needed to adapt.

“We have ambitious plans to enter into new markets, and need members of staff who are committed to developing their career in engineering. Some members of our workforce are near to retirement age which means when the time comes for them to leave, there will be a shortage of skills in the business.

“Our very specific skillset requirements aren’t readily available in the local labour market and so we decided to invest in setting up our own apprenticeship programme. Through the support of Skills Made Easy we’ve not only been able to create new skilled jobs in the local market but our apprentices have been able to work alongside those who are reaching the end of their careers, meaning that skills developed over a lifetime will be passed on to the next generation.

“Skills Made Easy helped us to find local school leavers who were keen to pursue a career in engineering. As a result of their support we have added five enthusiastic and determined young men who are proud of the work they achieve every day.”

The latest apprentices to join Krantech include Lewis Whybrow and Jordan Hogdkiss, both 18, work with machines to help create equipment used in undersea extractions for oil in one of the companies engineering workshops, whilst Declan Partridge, 18, Keegan Docherty, 17 along with Apprentice of the Year finalist Billy Martin, work as fabricators in a CNC clean environment workshop.

Apprentice Billy Martin, said:

“When I first started working here, I was amazed by the sheer size of some of the structures the company builds. It’s a great feeling knowing that a piece of machinery or equipment we have been working on will leave the factory and be used thousands of miles away.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and feel that I’ve learned a lot in a short time.”

Laura Hayfield, Programme Manager at Skills Made Easy said:

“Many young people don’t know which direction to go in after they finish school, so apprenticeship opportunities like the ones offered at Krantech are valuable for teaching skills and positively affecting business productivity and sales.

“Recent survey findings show that 96% of businesses who recruited an apprentice noticed they made a positive contribution, whilst 72% reported a rise in staff morale. More recently, data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of 16 to 18 year olds applying for apprenticeship vacancies in Sheffield is twice the national average of almost every major city.

“Skills Made Easy is a unique programme which helps businesses and apprentices. We offer tailored training services, help businesses access the correct funding for the apprenticeship training and help with the apprentice recruitment process. Krantech has seen how successful an apprentice can be and how they can make a positive contribution to the workforce and business.”

Skills Made Easy offers practical and impartial advice to small and medium sized businesses around the Sheffield City Region at no cost to businesses. To find out if Skills Made Easy can help your business, call the team today on 0114 229 6183 


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