The learners, who are all studying level three Engineering study programmes at the College's Roundhouse campus, are members of the epm:technology Employer Academy at Derby College. The programme is part of Derby College's wider initiative in partnership with businesses across the East Midlands to bridge the gap between education and world of work. More than 200 learners across the College are benefiting from work experience, involvement in projects and master classes from employers. They will be guaranteed an interview for potential apprenticeship and jobs at the companies at the end of their study programme. epm: technology is one of the UK's leading suppliers of complex and engineered composite components to the highly competitive motorsport arena including Formula One.
The learners joined employees at the company to learn more about the design, research and manufacturing processes as well as gaining an insight into the business development and administrative roles at the company.
Graham Mulholland, managing director of epm:technology said: "Advanced composites is the fastest growing area in engineering in the UK and particularly in Derby which is the country's number one high-tech city. As a leading employer in advanced composites, our own experiences support the national research that the main challenge facing this industry is the lack of employees with technical, practical and job-specific skills. We were therefore keen to work with Derby College to introduce advanced composites into the Engineering curriculum. By working closely with the learners, we can build their industry-specific problem solving, team working and communication skills. We are a rapidly growing company with a structure apprenticeship programme so will be offering interviews to all the students at the end of the programme. Those who are successful will join epm and the others will stand a far greater chance of gaining apprenticeships with other companies having been through the Academy. The launch of this Academy is therefore good for our business and for the engineering and advanced composites sectors as a whole. We have been very impressed with the learners' enthusiasm and their thirst for knowledge and I hope that this week's work experience will have whetted their appetite even more for a career in this fascinating industry."
Among the learners involved was Daniel Msimuko, he said: "I was keen to be part of the Academy as it is a really good opportunity to get work experience which could lead to an apprenticeship here. I have particularly enjoyed working with the CNC programming equipment in the workshop to improve my practical skills."
Kenzie Myers continued: "We have been able to see behind the scenes of epm:technology – how the company works and the processes involved. It has been great to put the theory that we learn at College into practice in the workplace and I hope that this will really boost my CV when I am applying for apprenticeships."
Jasmine Evans took the opportunity to improve her CAD skills during the week and also worked alongside the Business Development team. As well as the hands on practical skills I even had the chance to join a meeting with a customer which was fascinating. This has been a unique opportunity and it has convinced me that my future career lies in engineering."
Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst added: "The epm:technology Advanced Composites Academy is part of our wider programme across a wide range of industry sectors. It reflects the College's commitment to working in partnership with key employers to deliver training in the skills they need to increase their competitive edge and to better prepare young people for the world of work. By working with epm:technology, learnerss will benefit from working in a state of the art facility alongside experienced advanced composites personnel to gain a valuable insight into the design and manufacture of these new process and material technologies."