IPP Stainless Steel Fasteners are a specialist UK manufacturer of fully-certified and fully traceable bolting to customer specifications. Here Lee Parry, Joint Managing Director tells us all about their journey investing in Apprentices so far.

Why did you decide to take on an apprentice?

We need to invest in our future and IPP-SSF strongly believes that apprenticeships should be the life blood of any growing business.

What duties does the apprentice carry out?

Our apprentice works in all departments at IPP-SSF, which involves bench, capstan & CNC lathe work. He has also worked in the dispatch area, which involves etching, packing, and netlon covering parts, and has also spent some time in the quality control department.

He is required to carry out a range of tasks including removing burrs from completed machined products using buffing wheels, threading of hexagon nuts using the tapping arm, and he also chamfers studbolts and nuts on to capstans and operates CNC lathes.

How has the company benefitted from having an apprentice?

Having someone within the business who is young, enthusiastic and eager to learn has a great effect on everyone – from older employees wanting to share their knowledge to pushing the younger people to want to learn more and move higher up in their relevant areas.

What support did you receive from the college when setting up the apprenticeship and what support is provided to you and your apprentice during their training?

We work with some very good & knowledgeable people from the college – such as our account manager and workplace assessor.

The apprenticeship was very easy to set up and didn’t take very long to do. The people we work with go the extra mile for us and especially for our apprentice – they are always willing to help and spend extra time with him if needed.

What would you say to other employers who are considering taking on an apprentice?

Go for it and invest in our future!

We need to bring back apprenticeships to all our businesses, locally, nationally and globally, especially within the engineering and manufacturing sectors to name but a few – it’s easy to do and brings so much to the business.

Engineering Apprentice Alex Parry says:

“I’m learning from scratch from people with many years of experience and knowledge to help me have a head start in my future career,” said 16-year-old Alex Parry who is the first year of a three-year engineering and welding apprenticeship at IPP Stainless Steel Fasteners in Kingswinford.

Alex added: “I’ve always been interested in engineering and I wanted to learn everything from the ground up.

“The apprenticeship is helping me to gain work experience, have more freedom and earn a regular wage, as well as giving me the knowledge I need to work within a business and help me to progress.

“I am learning the basics of bench work and what parts should look like when they’re finished and am also learning how to read drawings correctly and how to measure the parts to ensure they are in tolerance.

“I work in all departments and carry out bench, capstan & CNC lathe work. I have also worked in the dispatch area which involves etching and packing, and I have also spent some time in the quality control department.

“I am required to carry out a range of tasks including removing burrs from completed parts using buffing wheels, threading of nuts using the tapping arm, chamfering studs and nuts on the capstans and operating CNC lathes.

“College assessors visit me in the workplace – they watch me run the lathes and if I make a mistake show me how to correct it and fix it on the part so I don’t make the same mistake again.

“At the end of the term I have a gateway assessment which shows if I have the required level of knowledge and skills to progress to the next stage of the course.

“Since starting the apprenticeship I have become more confident and developed my ability to adapt to difficult situations. After completing the programme I hope to progress further in the role as I want to become a CNC programmer and operator.

“I would suggest the idea of an apprenticeship as an alternative option to stopping at school or going to university because you can get on the job work experience and learn from people who have been doing it for years.”