In their own words
Current and past apprentices from across the Bri-Stor Group discuss their experiences of their apprenticeships.
Being an Apprentice with Alpha Manufacturing
We’re passionate about our Apprenticeship Scheme which is why we continuously find new ways to make our three-year programme exciting, dynamic and entirely relevant to today’s fast-paced world of work. Each year we recruit around 15 Apprentices – usually from local schools and colleges in the catchment area to our site in Hixon, Staffordshire.
Since we launched our fully-accredited Apprenticeship Scheme in 2010, we have recruited almost 100 Apprentices and we are proud to have offered all Graduates a role in either Alpha Manufacturing or Bri-Stor Systems. This is a reflection of the value we place on our Apprentices and we continue to develop our Scheme year-on-year because we see the enormous potential Apprentices bring to our Group. Many of our Apprentices go on to further their careers in one of our businesses, and those with exceptionally high levels of drive and determination go on to achieve a Level 4 qualification. We’ll even sponsor some of our Graduate Apprentices to go on to achieve a full degree. Is our Apprenticeship Scheme right for you?
Specialising in precision sheet metal fabrication, Alpha Manufacturing is renowned in the industry for having the most advanced manufacturing capability, which gives you the opportunity to experience and adopt the necessary skills to work with some of the World’s most advanced machinery.
We service a huge range of industries including the technology, automotive, agricultural, interiors, aerospace and defence industries. You can expect an exciting and varied career with Alpha Manufacturing where you’ll learn cutting edge manufacturing practices using the very latest technology, building up a wealth of experience and skills.
How an Alpha Manufacturing Apprenticeship works:
During the first year you will spend 1 day per week in the respective business and the other 4 at The JCB Academy. This year will see you learn basic principles of Engineering and Manufacturing and begin to understand how these are applied across our business.
In year two and three you’ll spend time in the classroom with our Apprenticeship Manager, Will Davies-Hill and you’ll begin the Rotation Programme – giving you the opportunity to work with a number of teams. This is your chance to use different skills and experience different departments. It’s a vital part of the Apprenticeship Scheme and will really inform your choices. In year three, you’re almost at the end and this is where you’ll confirm which career-route you’d like to go down. For some Apprentices this might be continuing with studies while working – the choices are only limited by your own ambition. For those Apprentices that want to further their studies, we’ll sponsor you to progress to a level 4 qualification (Foundation Degree) or for those that want to go the extra mile, we’ll sponsor you to achieve a full Engineering or Manufacturing & Production degree.
Learn more about the experiences of our Apprentices and Graduates.
Production Engineer, Alpha Manufacturing
When Gemma was at school, she always knew she wanted to get into business and more specifically engineering but wasn’t entirely sure what this path would look like. She certainly didn’t anticipate that just four years into her career and still in her early 20s she’d be running the production engineering for some of Alpha’s most complex jobs.
3rd Year Apprentice, Alpha Manufacturing
“After my GCSEs I was pretty set on sixth form to be honest, but I felt like I was getting swept along with other students, rather than what I wanted to do”,
2nd Year Apprentice, Alpha Manufacturing
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after completion of my NVQ but when Will visited my college and told us about the opportunities at Bri-Stor Group as an Apprentice I was really intrigued.”
The Rotation Programme is a vital part of the Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Scheme in year two and gives you the opportunity to learn new skills in a broad spectrum of departments and operational functions.
We take the Rotation Programme very seriously because it’s the first opportunity you’ll get to take everything you’ve learnt in the classroom and apply it to shop floor. We want to give you every opportunity to succeed so we’ll buddy you up with a mentor who can show you the ropes and make sure your experience gives you a thorough understanding of the skills and necessary aptitude to succeed in that role. But don’t worry, we know that you’ll have your preferences throughout this Programme, and that’s what it’s all about. We need all sorts of skills in the business, whether you work in Alpha or Bri-Stor Systems, but at the end of each Rotation we’ll appraise your performance, talk to your shift leaders and mentors and assess your suitability for a more dedicated role in year three. Your opinion really counts and this is your opportunity to really showcase your personal
Engineering Projects – fancy building an Ultima RS?
Team workers, independent thinkers, problem-solvers, natural leaders – it takes all sorts of people to make a business successful and we’re looking for Apprentices that really want the opportunity to stand out for being an individual.
Throughout your Apprenticeship at Bri-Stor Group we’ll give you plenty of opportunities to showcase your ability and yes, it’ll be hard work, but we also want to make this experience fun. Every year we set a new challenge for the Apprentices to showcase their work ethic and team-spirit. For the last few years our Apprentices have built a Caterham kit car, one of the quickest vehicles on the road or track! Our Apprentices in 2020 wanted a new, fresh challenge and sticking with the same passion for all things automotive, they’re building an Ultima RS – this is a rare opportunity and unlike any other opportunity you’ll experience. We are passionate about our Apprenticeship Programme and nurturing young talent but we also want to inspire you and give you the opportunity to learn life-long skills in a fun and energetic environment. If that sounds good for you – then this is your Apprenticeship Scheme.
It takes a team to build a business – the trip to Elan Valley, Wales
We know that some life lessons are almost impossible to teach, but we do know that we need to give you every opportunity to nurture your own skills, build in confidence and be who you want to be – that’s the entire essence of the Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Programme. Not everybody is a natural born leader, you might lack confidence and feel shy in certain situations – if that’s you, then you’ll get a lot out of our trip to Elan Valley . This is a week-long residential course and gives you the opportunity to spread your wings with your new colleagues. It forms part of your year one Apprenticeship and includes lots of outdoor activities including kayaking, rock climbing, pot holing, fire building and survival skills. It might sound similar to something you did at school – whatever your experience – this is an awesome trip that our Apprentices love. You’ll be mentored by team leaders and experts in their field and it gives us an opportunity to get to know you and for you to get to know us and your fellow Apprentices.
It’s really simply to apply for our Apprenticeship Scheme in either Alpha Manufacturing or Bri-Stor Systems. It takes less than a minute, simply fill in your details below, choose either Alpha Manufacturing or Bri-Stor Systems, upload your CV and you’re done.
The deadline for submitting your application for a place on the September 2021 Apprenticeship Scheme is Friday 12 March 2021.
Interviews will be carried out w/c 29 March 2021 and offers will be sent out during week commencing 5 April 2021.
Apply to start your Alpha Manufacturing Apprenticeship now:
Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship FAQ’s
Is there an age limit for applicants to the Apprenticeship Scheme?
Typically, applicants onto our Apprenticeship Scheme are aged between 16 and 18, but you can apply for an Apprenticeship up until the age of 24. You must be 16 by the time you start the Apprenticeship in September.
I’m not sure if I want to apply for Alpha Manufacturing or Bri-Stor Systems – what should I do?
We understand that it might be tricky to make that choice – especially if you’ve never visited us. We recommend you apply for both Schemes and if you’re successful in securing an interview we can explore which Scheme might suit you better during the interview phase.
What are the minimum qualifications I need?
You need to have achieved a Level 4 GCSE in Mathematics, English and a Science to take up your place in September.
I’m concerned about getting to JCB Academy in Rocester – can you help?
One of the great benefits of joining the Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Scheme is that we are the only Scheme in the area that has negotiated an arrangement with JCB Academy to use the school bus service. This is a chargeable service, but gives you complete peace of mind and takes out the stress of transport.
What happens if I start my Apprenticeship but I want to switch businesses?
Our primary role is to give you the greatest opportunity to succeed in your early career so if you find that you’re not enjoying the Scheme you have chosen; we urge you to talk to us as soon as possible so we can find a solution that works.
Where will I spend my time at Bri-Stor?
We have a dedicated classroom for the Apprentices which is where you’ll always be able to find Apprenticeship Manager Will Davies-Hill. We operate a ‘hot’ desk approach so you’ll be able to use the classroom any time that suits your day.
I’ve got questions that aren’t answered here, what should I do?
We want to guide you through this process with as much support as possible so please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Will can make an appointment to chat to you.
Meet our Apprenticeship Manager
After a twenty-year career in the Army, retiring as a Warrant Officer in 2015, Will Davies-Hill was ready for the next chapter in his career. Joining Bri-Stor Systems and securing a position in the electrics team, Will slotted straight into the fast-paced and dynamic culture of the business and was immediately struck by the firm’s attitude towards career progression and personal development, as he explains
Meet our Group HR Manager
“The Group is a dynamic, pacey environment where you’ll learn fast and get maximum support and opportunity. That said, you’ll be expected to bring your ‘A Game’ every single day – but the rewards are there for those Apprentices seeking an exciting future in engineering.
Meet our Managing Director
When Paul Clews started his career at 16 as an Apprentice Engineer little did he know that by 43 he’d be the Managing Director of two of the region’s most dynamic engineering businesses - Alpha Manufacturing and Atlas Coatings.
Meet our CEO
Growing up in Staffordshire, just a few miles from the family business, Martin Smith spent much of his childhood watching his parents build Bri-Stor Systems Limited (Bri-Stor is an abbreviation of British Storage). Today, as CEO of the Bri-Stor Group, he reflects on his own career and the tough lessons he learned along the way.