Stephen Pickles, a trainee Production Technician who has recently completed an apprenticeship at global engineering and scientific technologies company, Renishaw, has been selected as a finalist in the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2017 in the Apprentice of the Year category. The winner will be announced at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales on October 20th.
Entries were jointly managed by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales. The awards celebrate the role of training and skills development, showcasing the successes of high-achieving apprentices, employers, tutors and assessors across Wales.
Pickles has been at Renishaw for three years, spending his time working at the company’s Miskin site, near Cardiff and attending Coleg y Cymoedd (Nantgarw). The budding engineer recently completed his apprenticeship and is completing a HNC at the University of South Wales this year. He will then have the opportunity to study for an HND and potentially a full honours degree.
After completing a BTEC in Mechanical Engineering at Coleg y Cymoedd, Pickles joined the Renishaw apprenticeship scheme at the Miskin site. He has since rotated through different areas of the business, gaining an overview of engineering areas including additive manufacturing, position encoders, maintenance, machine shop, machine build and the assembly development group.
A particular focus for Pickles has been the manufacture of Renishaw’s metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) systems, the only such equipment to be produced in the UK. He is currently contributing to the production of the company’s latest RenAM 500M system, which is designed specifically for volume manufacturing of metal components.
“I chose an engineering apprenticeship as an alternative to studying it full time as I wanted to gain hands on experience,” explained Pickles. “Since joining Renishaw, I’ve worked on nine projects and picked up a wide range of skills and knowledge along the way. Rotating around the different areas has also given me an insight into what I enjoy and where I would like my career to take me.”
“An apprenticeship at Renishaw is an opportunity to earn while you learn, as well as an opportunity for further study,” commented Pete Sprague, Production Manager at the Miskin site. “Stephen has continually exceeded our expectations in all of the departments he’s worked in. We’re proud that his achievements have also been recognised outside of the company.”
“Renishaw started operations at its Miskin site in January 2012 and has since demonstrated its long-term commitment to engineering education and business growth in South Wales. Today we employ 320 people at the site and we have a wide range of initiatives and plans, which includes recruiting apprentices to meet our long-term skills requirements.”
Alongside his work, Pickles acts as a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) ambassador for Renishaw to help young people develop their skills. As part of this role, Pickles runs activity sessions and hassupported the Big Bang Fair Wales and Greenpower electric car competitions. Outside of work, he promotes the value of an engineering apprenticeship at his scout group to inspire young people into engineering.
2017 has been a successful year for Renishaw’s apprentices and former apprentices. Lucy Ackland, Senior Development Engineer and former apprentice at Renishaw was named as one of The Daily Telegraph’s top 50 female engineers. Roxanne Pollard, Mechanical Design Engineer and former apprentice was awarded the TATA prize for the best part-time student at the University of South Wales, after achieving a first-class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering.