From left to right: Simon Thompson, Quality Manager, Luxus, Ashley Bell, Quality Manager, Polypipe, James Laurence, Luxus Apprentice, Luxus Kamil Ostrowski, Polypipe Apprentice and Callum Ely, Luxus Apprentice.
Two UK plastics companies have joined forces in order to support and encourage the next generation of skilled workers into the industry.
Technical compounder and recycler, Luxus, and its partner, plastics piping manufacturer, Polypipe, have launched a ‘Compounding Polymer Apprenticeship’ scheme to help solve the ‘skills gap’ in the plastics industry.
The first group of three apprentice technicians – Callum Ely (16), James Laurence (22) from Luxus and Kamil Ostrowski (22) from Polypipe have begun the new two-year, multi-site apprenticeship in polymer processing. It is delivered in partnership with training provider, Solutions4Polymers and funded by Cogent.
The new scheme is part of the Government’s ‘Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards’ initiative launched earlier this year. Its aim is to help develop apprenticeships in direct consultation with employers to ensure that training is directly relevant to industry needs.
As long standing industry partners, Luxus and Polypipe say they decided to be “early adopters” of this initiative, stating there is a genuine lack of apprenticeships and training dedicated to polymer processing - particularly at the sub degree level. The new scheme, they say, will therefore offer an effective means of developing the skills of their workforce.
“We are really pleased to offer this new scheme to our technicians. It has been widely reported that we are facing a chronic skills shortage in engineering talent in the UK, which is particularly acute in the plastics industry,” explained Simon Thompson, Quality Manager at Luxus.
“This partnership with Polypipe will benefit the apprentices from both businesses. They will be able to learn about the various types of thermoplastics and their processing characteristics in our ‘state of the art’ Technical Centre right through to subsequent processes; such as injection moulding to develop the finished pipe component at Polypipe’s Horncastle plant.
“It will not only help ensure the availability of skilled staff in the future, but most importantly, it will provide the opportunity for us to award the progress our apprentices make too.”
Andy Barnard, Managing Director at Solutions4Polymers, said: “Although engineering training is well catered for, we have seen the need for industry specific plastics processing training in the market. We are therefore, pleased to help develop a scheme from scratch and are looking forward to seeing their progress over the next two years.”