At a time when a skills shortage is evident in our industry, Webtec is proud to commit time and resources to improving the knowledge and skills of our employees, customers and the wider community. From our own apprenticeship schemes, training of staff, to educating and encouraging the next generation of engineers we practise what we preach and are proud to sponsor programmes such as the Arkwright Scholarship Trust, Engineering Education Scheme and The Secondary Engineer® Fluid Power Challenge – which we helped to launch into the local Cambridgeshire schools.
A testament to this commitment is our achievement in recently achieving the prestigious global Investors In People Silver award standard and we have all been working hard to achieve the high standards set for this award since we initially gained IIP accreditation in 2017.
Our training and education values and vision to ‘inspire others to enjoy the challenges that engineering brings’ through engaging with the wider community are very much in-line with the IiP’s ‘Leading, Supporting and Improving’ standards.
We were also commended for engaging with our teams to develop internal initiatives such as the Place to Work Group and Webtec Wellbeing, as well as the emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement.
As many of you know, each year we have openings for apprentices covering a variety of roles in engineering, production to back office. The apprenticeships last approximately 3 ½ years and include day-release college course plus comprehensive in-house training with continuous assessment and a mentorship programme. Currently there is one apprentice following the Machinist apprenticeship scheme in the production side of the company. Over recent years three apprentices have been successful in completing the scheme and now work for the company in a variety of roles. This number is set to increase again as we are actively looking to engage three more apprentices this year.
To encourage youth into the industry we will soon resume our attendance at local job fairs for recruitment and are continuing to sponsor the Roy Cuthbert Scholarship. This award is part of the wider UK Arkwright Engineering Scholarship Scheme, and was named after Webtec’s founder, a passionate engineer and entrepreneur who passed away in 2013.
The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships act as a beacon to the most talented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students in the UK schools and help to ensure that high-potential young people stay engaged in the engineering careers pipeline, in the critical 16 to 18 age range.
Other school schemes that we are actively engaged with include ‘The Secondary Engineer® Fluid Power Challenge’. The project to attract secondary school pupils into engineering, in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia, was launched at Webtec’s St Ives manufacturing facility, with the Primary Engineer team two years ago.
In addition to encouraging the next generation into Engineering, we are proud to continue to sponsor Webtec employees to attend external training courses to enhance their skillset. Examples of these during the past year have included Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting, ILM Diploma in Leadership/Management, Certified Solidworks Professional Certification.
Another demonstration of our commitment to training and education is, ‘An Introduction to Practical Hydraulic System Maintenance’, an informative guide for all fluid power technicians. Co-authored by Martin Cuthbert and industry expert Steve Skinner, this invaluable tool is aimed to help educate technicians and engineers new to hydraulic fluid power maintenance and hydraulic engineers embarking on a career in this industry.
‘The guide has been reviewed and endorsed by several organisations including the British Fluid Power Association, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, National Fluid Power Centre, British Valve and Actuator Association and the Construction Equipment Association.
All profits made from the book will be donated to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programmes such as the ‘Fluid Power Challenge’ run by the charity Primary Engineer in the UK.
Our dedicated ‘Education’ resource section on the website, https://www.webtec.com/education/ is a great place to view a huge source of training material. Here, specific product and educational guides and videos can be downloaded for free, such as ‘An introduction to practical hydraulic systems maintenance’, ‘Troubleshooting’ and ‘Best Practise in Cabling’. There are also sections on Useful Equations, Metric Conversion Factors, Fault Finding as well as Technical Reports, to assist the hydraulic user with the design and testing of hydraulic circuits.
Using a host of training initiatives, we are proud to demonstrate our commitment to encourage, educate and reward both internal employees and external communities.