The UK’s annual National Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of the key role that apprentices can, and should, play in business. It acts as a valuable showcase for the mutual benefits that a professional apprenticeship scheme can bring to an employer and its work force.

At Cosworth, we have long recognised the importance and value of apprenticeships. We have developed a dedicated infrastructure within our organisation that allows us to build credibility around our apprentice positions and gets the most out of those who join us for a placement.

The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Look Beyond. The theme is aimed at encouraging a fresh look at apprenticeships and recognising the value they bring to organisations like ours. It is far more than asking young people to make cups of tea. In fact, it couldn’t be further from that at Cosworth; our apprentices are integrally involved in delivering some of our most cutting-edge programmes for global OEMs.

Whether it’s development of high-performance technology for Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, the Gordon Murray T.50 or ensuring smooth daily running in our Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC), our apprentices have their fingerprints on some of our most exciting and ground-breaking projects. Like the engines on our dynos, we are fired up for National Apprenticeship Week 2020, and spoke to two of our current apprentices, Kieran Hawthorn and Emilio Sanchez, to hear their thoughts.

Kieran, what is your role at Cosworth?
“My role is to define the processes for parts throughout their manufacture within the AMC and to continuously improve these processes; to set up and maintain the running of machines, such as the plasma, the hone and the ABB robots and recovering them if any issues arise. My main role as an apprentice is to gain as much knowledge about my environment as possible, enabling me to become increasingly more capable of running and maintaining machines as well as being able to define and support processes, and – ultimately – to be a valuable asset to the company.”

From your perspective, how does Cosworth value the role of an apprentice?
“I believe that the company has a very supportive and involving view towards the role of an apprentice. Those within the company provide almost unlimited support to apprentices in order to accelerate their learning and involvement, allowing them to progress at a fast rate. Those working at Cosworth hold an incredible amount of knowledge in many areas and are always keen to share this knowledge with apprentices to allow them to learn and progress as much as possible.”

What projects have you been involved in?
“I have been involved in several projects during my apprenticeship. One main project has been honing our V12. This took a lot of time and focus to learn about the machine and resultantly allowed me to run the hone independently and support production by processing parts through the machine. This understanding has always captured my interest massively and I believe that gaining this understanding has helped the company as I have allowed production to continue through supporting and running the machine. I have also managed small projects such as project procurement which needs to be on time and of the correct standard in order to support the development of larger projects.”

How have you been able to make an impact on the business?
“I believe that my enthusiasm to learn has resulted in me gaining knowledge in areas that are not commonly understood. I have been able to impact the business by applying this knowledge in several different ways. As well as this, I have used my improved organisational skills to control smaller projects, such as procurement, which I manage, in order to allow larger projects to take place on time.”

Where do you see this apprenticeship helping your career?
“This apprenticeship has helped my career massively as I have transitioned from the educational environment to the working environment allowing my engineering experience to increase massively. As well as holding my previous qualifications, I now hold invaluable experience within a globally recognised company, and I am able to gain further qualifications through the apprenticeship framework which strengthens my engineering career prospects.”

How has the apprenticeship helped you personally?
“The apprenticeship has allowed me to develop as a person more than I ever thought possible. My communication skills have improved as I must apply them daily to ensure schedules are followed and my projects run smoothly. I now have a great understanding of the working world and have more motivation than ever to achieve my goals within and outside of work. The projects I have been involved in have also developed my interest in maths and physics which have always captivated me, and to be using these interests within my job is a very fortunate position in which to be. The concept of teamwork has become something I now really enjoy as I value and recognise the requirement within an engineering environment to apply different people’s expertise in order to achieve the best possible result.”

Emilio, what is your role at Cosworth?
“My role in Cosworth is to support the manufacture of parts for engines. Each day brings a different component for me to machine, no two days are the same!”

How do you feel Cosworth values the role of an apprentice?
“The role of an apprentice is just as important as any other role. I work alongside a team of skilled engineers on various different projects and feel my role is just as valued as others. My colleagues seek my views and thoughts on projects, and I get to ask lots of questions.”

What projects have you been involved in that show how apprentices can contribute to the company?
“I have been involved in lots of projects, including the RA engine for the Aston Martin Valkyrie. I produce various different jigs and fixtures, which mount the engine parts on the machines. This is a vital part of the process in producing a finished engine.”

How have you been able to make an impact on the business?
“My enthusiasm helps to build team spirit. I am a versatile team member and enjoying stepping up to different challenges.”

Where do you see this apprenticeship helping your career?
“The apprenticeship has helped me boost my career as it shows people that, not only do I have the skills and qualifications, but also that I have experience in an engineering environment. Getting into employment early means that there is lots of potential for me to progress as a person.”

How has the apprenticeship helped you personally?
“The apprenticeship has made me grow as a person. This includes my communication, organisation and teamwork skills. I am able to problem-solve in tricky situations and work well under pressure. Working alongside such a supportive team I have built relations in Cosworth and am able to turn to them for advice when needed.”

To find out more about our apprenticeships, please click here