First year Apprentices of both Alpha Manufacturing and Bri-Stor Systems spent the beginning of the week at Bri-Stor Group training partner JCB Academy where they completed a series of team building activities, focusing on problem solving, design & build and communication skills. During their first year, the group will spend four days per week at the Academy working on engineering principles and theory, with one day per week spent with their respective companies. During the second year, this will switch, with the majority of their time spent in the work environment and only one day per week at the Academy.
The second part of last week for the group was spent on-site settling in to their new companies, adjusting to the new surroundings and learning processes and procedures. They were introduced to their programme of study in detail for the coming year and beyond, including team projects and events such as the annual Elan Valley trip and Soap-Box Derby event. The young engineers were keen to get stuck into life with the Bri-Stor Group and were full of questions about the business as they soaked in their new surroundings.
This year, twelve apprentices were accepted across the Bri-Stor Group from over one hundred and fifty applicants from the Staffordshire area. The Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship programme grown considerably over the past 10 years to become one of the most advanced and sought-after Engineering Apprenticeships in the Midlands, with many former Apprentices now in key positions within the business.
Applications for 2021 apprenticeships will soon be open for both Alpha and Bri-Stor, check back here for further updates and information.
Despite the current uncertain climate surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship programme continues as usual, with the new starters joining during September. This underscores both Alpha and Bri-Stor’s long term commitment to developing young talent and investing in the future, despite the short term turbulence being experienced across all industries.
Having worked hard to pass the rigorous interview process, these 12 young engineers were selected over one hundred and fifty other potential candidates. As of September, they will begin one year of studying at JCB Academy four days a week with one day per week with their companies. Following this first twelve months, they will switch to four days with their respective companies and one at the academy for another twenty four months.
The JCB academy have been training partners of the Bri-Stor Group for the past five years, providing the ideal setting to nurture local young engineering talent. The majority of those who have passed through the academy and onto either Alpha or Bri-Stor are now employed full time and making important contributions to their businesses. Others have gone on to further education alongside their employment, supported by the company, such as Gemma Smith – Design Engineer, who recently completed her level four NVQ in advanced engineering at Derby University.
Gemma discussed her apprenticeship experience in a recent interview:
“I first heard about the Alpha Apprenticeship while at the JCB academy. I did my sixth form there and the Apprenticeship Manager told us about Alpha Manufacturing and that there was a job offer/ apprenticeship available. The reason I chose an Apprenticeship over University was because it seemed more practical. I’m more of a practical person anyway so the though of being able to do actual work and get training at the same time was kind of a no brainer.”
Having completed their inductions, the newest intake of apprentices have a full schedule of activities and events to look forward to as part of their studies including the annual soapbox derby, race car build project, Elan Valley team building trip and much more.
From all at Alpha Manufacturing, welcome aboard!
In total, around 60 visitors came to have a look around Alpha and Bri-Stor’s facilities and see what the Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship programme has to offer. They were also given a presentation by group apprentice manager Will Davies-Hill before taking a guided tour of both factories. Current and former apprentices were on hand throughout the evening to answer any questions and offer insight into their experiences with the company.
On display during the evening were several examples of Bri-Stor Systems products and Van conversions, Alpha manufactured products and creations of apprentice projects, including the ever-popular Caterham race car. Following the open evening, applications for the apprenticeship preprogramme have been trickling in in and we look forward to welcoming potential candidates for interviews in the near future.
The ever-popular event offers young people interested in an engineering career the opportunity to discover what vocational options are available to them. In attendance will be current and former apprentices from both Alpha Manufacturing and Bri-Stor Systems, team managers and even company Directors to answer any questions on the night.
The evening will begin with a welcome by group apprentice manager William Davies-Hill before a full tour of Bri-Stor and Alpha facilities. This gives the young visitors and their parents the chance to see first hand the processes that take place, the machinery employed and the facilities as a whole. Following the tour, visitors are invited to attend a Q&A session where they can discuss in more depth the options available to them after school.
Many of Bri-Stor Group’s current and former apprentices visited the open evening before deciding to take an apprenticeship at either Alpha or Bri-Stor. They discuss this and much more about their experiences in the video below. Gemma Smith was one such apprentice, she discusses her reasons for choosing an apprenticeship over other options.
“The reason I chose to do an apprenticeship over University was more of the fact that it’s more practice. I’m more of a practical person anyway so the thought of being able to do actual work and get training at the same time was kind of like a no-brainer and I think it’s a no brainer for anyone who wants to work in engineering, or business or anything really.”
If you’re interested in a career in engineering, or even if you’re not sure what you’d like to do following school, simply register here and come along to our open evening at 5.30 on Thursday 13th Feb and see what a Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship has to offer!
The first week of the programme was spent at the JCB academy where the group completed their induction and were introduced to the subjects that they’ll be studying over the next twelve months. During this time, they will spend four days per week studying at the academy and one day with either Alpha or Bri-Stor Systems.
Their study programme will be divided into three-week modules where they will focus on a particular area of engineering. Their first three weeks was spent studying the basics of sheet metal fabrication, providing a solid foundation in understanding manufacturing and engineering processes.
Having hit the ground running, all apprentices have already achieved a level 1 qualification in Health & Safety, following internal training sessions by Bri-Stor Group Head of Health & Safety. They have also spent time learning the fundamentals of business improvement activities with their respective companies, which will eventually see them complete a week long project, implementing changes around the business.
Eight apprentices have joined the Group this year, with an equal split of four for each company. Now in its ninth year, the programme continues to grow year on year and has so far seen a total of ninety-seven young engineers begin their careers with the Group since its inception back in 2010.
Another exciting calendar of projects and events await the first-year apprentices again this year, including the annual Stone Soapbox Derby and another kit-car build. Make sure to check back here for updates on their activities and progress.
The annual open evening gives local students interested in a career in engineering the perfect opportunity to find out what an apprenticeship has to offer.
Starting at 5.30pm on 23rd Jan, the event is always well attended and gives prospective apprentices the chance to take a guided tour of both the Bri-Stor Systems and Alpha Manufacturing facilities, followed by a Q&A with expert engineers. Previous apprentices, many of whom are now full-time employees, are also on hand to share their first-hand experiences of the Group and to answer any questions.
Will Davies-Hill, Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship manager said of the event:
“The evening gives young people a chance to see the scope of the factory and meet the management team. Whilst on the guided tour they have the chance to decide which business would best suit their goals and set them on the career path they want. Overall a good evening and a vital first step towards employment for potential new apprentices”.
If you’re interested in a career in engineering and want to find out more about how an apprenticeship works, the Bri-Stor Group open evening is the perfect event for you.
Simply complete the short form below and we’ll see you on the 23rd January.
Corey Hammond and Reece Smith, who are in there first year of an engineering manufacturing apprentices at Alpha, were on hand to answer any questions that students might have.
The Cannock Chase careers fair marks the beginning of a busy period of recruitment for Alpha and the Bri-Stor Group, with a busy calendar of events, culminating in the Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship open evening on the 23rd Jan 2019.
Group apprentice manager William Davies-Hill was at the Cannock Chase College and was impressed with the young apprentices he took along.
“It’s great to see these young guys talk so confidently and positively about their experiences throughout their apprenticeships so far. It’s far more effective for young people to hear it from their peers who are currently living the apprenticeship than from myself. They do a great job whenever they represent us and it makes me proud.”
2018 was the most successful apprenticeship recruitment drive in the Bri-Stor Group’s history, with a record number of apprentices joining either the Alpha Manufacturing or Bri-Stor Systems programme. This year, the Group are looking to recruit a further 15 across the two companies.
The Bri-Stor Group apprentice open evening is open to student who have an interest in an engineering apprenticeship, along with their parents. The evening will be held at the Group ‘s Hixon site on January 23rd and will consist of a meet and greet, factory tour and Q&A sessions. If you’d like to attend, please complete our short registration form.
The new facility will provide the perfect environment for the young engineers to complete any theory-based aspects of their NVQ work, receive internal and external training and work on group projects such as the soapbox and Caterham projects. Equipped with network and internet access, computer work stations and projectors, the facility has everything needed to give Bri-Stor Group apprentices the best opportunity to learn and succeed throughout their training.
Previously, group apprentices had utilised various facilities and meeting rooms around the Bri-Stor site to complete training and coursework. The obvious logistical issues of sourcing these facilities within a busy working environment meant that a dedicated space was required. The next intake of young apprentices, due to join from the JCB academy during September will now benefit from a dedicated quiet space to learn.
Bri-Stor Systems apprentice manager William Davies-Hill commented:
“This new facility will give the apprentices a hub to conduct all non-practical elements of their studies, so any presentations, training or project work can be completed here. It’s going to be really beneficial to future apprentices in terms of their learning and development and personally I’m delighted to have the facility.”
The Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship scheme has grown form strength to strength since its inception in 2010 with a year on year increase in both applications and course completion. Today, 42 apprentices are studying toward an NVQ qualification across the group, including several higher apprentices in both Alpha Manufacturing and Bri-Stor Systems.
Alpha Manufacturing apprentices Sam Weaver & Owen Jones were last week invited to Wolverhampton University for a tour of their school of engineering and UWR Motorsport facility.
With both Owen & Sam soon to start further education in the form of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering and Electrical Engineering courses respectively, the visit gave them valuable insight into a wide range of advanced manufacturing techniques.
The two young engineers where given the opportunity thanks to the ongoing relationship between the Bri-Stor Group, of which Alpha are a part and the UWR team. Over the past few years the group has supported both F3 and formula student teams with graphics supplied by Hex Signs & Graphics and various vehicle components manufactured by Alpha.
The UWR programme offers young engineers a unique opportunity to combine theoretical studies with real world, hands on engineering within a competitive environment. Competing in a range of championships including the F3 cup, Formula Student Cup, AR Morgan Challenge and British Hill-climb Championship, the UWR team relies heavily on sponsorship and support from companies such as the Bri-Stor Group.
Alpha’s commitment to developing young engineering talent through our apprenticeship programme continues to pay dividends as apprentices from the 2016 intake begin to make a real impact within the business and build solid foundations to their own careers.
As Alpha’s 2016 group of apprentices complete their official training and move into full time employment with the business, they begin their career in earnest as they start to develop individual skillsets and specialise in specific areas.
Some, for example have shown an aptitude towards programming and are set to begin RADAN training which will equip them with the skills needed to work within the office programming team. Others, such as Faisal Kahn will take on greater responsibilities within specific departments. Faisal spent time working alongside Alpha’s dedicated Robotic fold programmer on the TruBend 7000 machine and will now take on greater responsibility in this area, able to run the machine solo going forward thanks to his rapid progression.
Two members of the class of 2016 will go one step further, undertaking additional education alongside their work with Alpha to achieve extra engineering qualifications which will help them further specialise in their careers. Owen Jones will be attending Stafford College as of August this year, where he will be studying towards a level 3 NVQ in electrical engineering over 3 years. During his apprenticeship with Alpha, Owen has developed impressively, showing particular potential in electrical engineering having worked alongside Alpha’s maintenance manager for the past 6 months in tending to Alpha’s machinery and systems repairs.
“I’ve really enjoyed working on all the different machinery around the factory and learning how different things work. Once I finish my college course I want to take different courses specific to each machine so I know them inside and out. My ultimate goal is to become an Alpha maintenance manager and be responsible for keeping the factory working.”
Sam Weaver will also be undertaking further education at Derby University, where he will take a 3-year foundation degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering which will see him progress onto a masters degree in manufacturing and production. Sam has already begun to make an important contribution to Alpha’s operations by creating a 5S implementation plan which he’s delivering to all departments through a series of 1-hour training sessions. Once training is complete, Sam will be responsible for ensuring that 5S disciplines are implemented and adhered to around the factory shopfloor regularly, with the aim of improving organisation and ultimately productivity.
“The training has been really well received so far and people seem enthusiastic to improve their organisation and efficiency. I’m looking forward to seeing the work I’m doing at the moment start to take effect within the company over the next few months. Once I’ve completed all the training sessions, there’ll be a series of shutdown days where we can really start to implement the changes.”
The impressive progression of these Alpha apprentices is further vindication of the company’s commitment to training and development, with young engineers already showing the promise that they can contribute positively to the business. With the 2018 intake just recently beginning the theory portion of their apprenticeships with the JCB academy, Alpha are already anticipating another fresh influx of raw engineering talent ready to be moulded when they begin their practical training at the manufacturing facility.