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3 October, 2023 - 11:58 By News Desk

Apprenticeships boost for engineering firm Shearline after student open day

Cambridgeshire precision engineering company Shearline reports an upsurge in interest in its Apprenticeship Programme after around 60 pupils from local schools and colleges attended ‘teach-ins’ at the company’s Ely factory.

Shearline says that following the sessions – arranged to celebrate National Manufacturing Day –  a large number of the students involved expressed interest in applying for the company’s apprenticeship initiative.

Shearline opened its doors to around 60 Year 10 and 11 pupils from Soham Village College and Ely College for hands-on teach-ins.

Following tours of the factory former apprentice, Harry Clark, talked to the students about his own journey in the industry. He joined Shearline five years ago and is now a programmer/setter/operator in the machine shop.

Simon Cooper – production manager of the company’s machine shop – showed students the journey of a machined part from receipt of drawing through to coming off the machine.

They were also given an insight in to Shearline’s fabrications capabilities and each student was able to build their own sheet metal dinosaur from a kit of parts.

At subsidiary company Shearline Hybrid Laser Tech – a specialist in laser cutting and engraving – each student typed their name into a laser marking machine to personalise a pen.

And at the company’s ShearXL facility, manager Spencer Curtis outlined the division’s castings capability for Formula One cars and motorsport generally. Through the event, Shearline was responding to a UK crisis which sees the need to recruit 1.8 million new engineers by 2025.

Demand for apprentice engineers has doubled in the past six years and tripled in the past 12; Shearline, which takes on several apprentices on an annual basis, already has active programmes with several schools in its catchment but MD Jon Littlechild is stepping up the strategy.

Shearline’s National Manufacturing Day effort built on long-term relationships with Soham and Ely Colleges as well as Bishop Laney Sixth Form (Ely), Kings (Ely), Bottisham, Littleport and Witchford schools. 

The company has fostered these liaisons for the best part of 20 years and is always keen to work with the schools to organise work experience programmes.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Harry Clark, who joined five years ago and is now a programmer/setter/operator in the machine shop, has been through Shearline’s Apprenticeship programme. Credit – Mike Thornton/StillVision.

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