North East manufacturer Unipres (UK) Limited has significantly
increased the number of apprentices in their programme after
helping to save the company thousands of pounds.
The Sunderland-based automotive components supplier will take on
10 new apprentices in September 2012, after recognising the
benefits provided and the new ideas generated for the business.
Unipres (UK) Limited currently has 23 apprentices in the
programme they developed in partnership with Gateshead College and
appreciates the value they can add to the business - they have
plans to recruit additional apprentices each year.
This value can be seen in the work of one apprentice,
20-year-old Sam Pascoe, who has developed a new machine tool which
is expected to save the company thousands of pounds a year in
He used the skills and engineering expertise gained as part of
his apprenticeship training to design a new production line
This automatically checks that the screw threads on the special
nuts used by the company to produce its automotive components are
present, properly machined and designed within the correct
tolerances for quality assurance purposes.
The development of this new tool has taken away the need for
factory floor operatives to spend hours of time visually checking
thread quality, improving production efficiency and generating the
Laura Smith, HR Officer at Unipres, said: "Sam is a great
example of how we're benefitting from the fresh, new ideas that
apprentices can bring and we're delighted to be taking on more as
the company moves forward.
"We've found the programme with Gateshead College has been
hugely beneficial for both the apprentices and the organisation.
The college listened to what we needed from the training and
tailored the apprenticeship programme to ensure individuals gained
the skills needed by the business.
"Our apprentices have made great progress and, by utilising the
skills and knowledge gained in the apprenticeship programme, one
apprentice has managed to design a new machine tool to improve
efficiency, which will save us a huge amount of money which can be
re-invested elsewhere in the business."
The 10 new apprentices will join the 23 existing engineering
maintenance and engineering die technician apprentices already at
Unipres, which manufactures metal stampings and sub-assemblies for
the automotive industry. The company plays a crucial role in the
Nissan supply chain in the region and also supplies to other
big-name manufacturers such as Honda.
Unipres recently switched its apprenticeship programme to
Gateshead College. Joanne Dodson at Gateshead College said: "It is
fantastic to be working with companies like Unipres to deliver
bespoke apprenticeship programmes which add real value to the
"By investing in this type of training, Unipres are ensuring
that they are able to build their own workforce to ensure the
future strength and success of their organisation."
All of the apprentices work four days per week at Unipres and
complete one day at Gateshead College's Skills Academy for
Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics at Team
Valley. The apprentices all have the opportunity to progress
further and complete a Foundation Degree in Maintenance Engineering
at University of Sunderland in September.