Whitham Mills: inside an apprenticeship at a recycling equipment manufacturer 

Date published: 25 August 2019

Every day is different for an apprentice at Whitham Mills Engineering, a supplier of automatic baling solutions, waste management and recycling machinery.

A week in the life of a Whitham Mills apprentice typically consists of 30 hours on-the-job training and one day in college working towards their BTEC qualifications.

One day they could be working on a complete refurbishment of old baling machinery; the next, they could be helping manufacture parts for a 1200mm conveyor which is part of a deal worth over a million pounds.

Working in a fully equipped factory at Stakehill, the apprentices will assist senior engineers in building new equipment as well as refurbishing old equipment from start to finish.

Currently Whitham Mills has two employed apprentices, electrical apprentice Harry Hulme and mechanical apprentice Michael Harland.

Harry said: “Being a Whitham Mills apprentice has provided me a lifetime of skills which I can take forward in my career. No day is the same and they like to keep me on my toes and push me to achieve the best results. At Whitham Mills, we are surrounded by mentors that not only inspire us, but offer their expert advice and training in the waste management field.”

Michael said: “Working as a Whitham Mills apprentice has given me the hands-on training to be an asset to the business. Apprentices play a big role at Whitham Mills and are given the opportunity to partake in training in the factory and at customer sites such as JD Sports, Co-op and Poundland. It’s exciting to be working alongside big brands such as these but still get the one to one support from Whitham Mills.”

Both Harry and Michael are in the final stages of their training after beginning their apprenticeships 18 months ago. They both chose Whitham Mills for their apprenticeships due to the long line of successful apprentices before them, and the expert training in a vastly expanding field, such as waste management equipment.

Collaborating with Rochdale Training, Whitham Mills has offered apprenticeships since the business started 20 years ago.

Heading up the Whitham Mills Service and Maintenance Department is Service Manager Ben Clegg, who started out 13 years ago as an electrical engineer apprentice, working his way up.

Whitham Mills MD, Ben Smart, encourages taking on new apprentices as often as possible, with the company set to take on three more. New apprentices are taken on annually.

He said: “The WME engineering apprentice course is unparalleled and allows our apprentices to work daily alongside the experienced and senior engineers handing down the specialist knowledge that makes our engineers the best in the business.

“Once more, our apprentices are given a guarantee of a job after they complete their course providing them with the job security.

“Due to the breadth of services offered at WME the apprentices have the opportunity to learn about each and every component on our equipment and get hands on experience with our in-house equipment. Growing the knowledge of your workforce is intrinsic to the longevity and success of your business.

“Being trained by our team of senior engineers and investing in the future of our apprentices inspires a lifetime career at Whitham Mills.”

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