It’s helped our company grow and thrive to become an industry leader.
That’s the impact that workplace training in the form of apprenticeships – supported by Chichester College - has had on one of Britain’s leading manufacturers.
URT Group is a composites manufacturer and engineering solutions provider, based in West Sussex. It works with clients across a wide range of industries, from defence to lifestyle, aerospace to motorsport – including Formula 1 and Le Mans. Formed in 2001 with just three employees it has grown to employ more than 100 staff at its facility in Bognor Regis.
Technical Director and co-company founder – Kevin Emmett said, 'From day one we have always placed an emphasis on apprenticeships. They really benefit our staff and the structured learning they receive at Chichester College complements what they are learning with us in the workplace. We work closely with the college to tailor the apprenticeships to the apprentice. . . I want them to know how the company is run. From finance to sales, to design and the shop floor, it’s vital for them to understand every area.'
'Since we started out, we have seen 22 apprentices come through our doors and we have retained nearly all of them. It’s really important to us to develop that talent and to see them succeed. To put it simply, if our apprentices aren’t moving up the ladder then we would know that we were doing something wrong.'
Kevin is responsible for the training and development of URT’s staff and runs the company’s industry-leading apprenticeship scheme.In his career, which has included positions at various Formula 1 teams including McLaren and Benetton, he has worked with a number of training providers – but since partnering with Chichester College he has discovered a real difference.
'The thing I like about Chichester is that they really listen to what we want and what we need', he explained. 'The college has been fundamental in setting up our apprenticeship scheme and they have been really flexible in tailoring the syllabus to what we need.'
If we need to add something, they’ll do it. I speak to other composite companies around the country and they don’t seem to have the same relationship with their local colleges and training providers. I think, because we work closely in developing courses with the college and the local university, we are going to see a thriving engineering community developing here in West Sussex.'
Julie Kapsalis, Vice Principal at Chichester College, added: 'As a college, we pride ourselves for placing employability at the heart of our education – and that’s something we do right across the board.'
In today’s climate, employers are looking for staff with more than just a qualification – they want people who also have the practical skills to succeed. We work closely with local employers of all sizes – from local hairdressing salons to national and international companies like URT – to design bespoke training and apprenticeship programmes which meet the needs of their business – And that’s what leads to successful training partnerships.