Dawson Shanahan’s search for the best of British engineering apprentices 2022

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Dawson Shanahan, the specialist precision engineering firm, is in its eighth year of running an engineering apprenticeship scheme and is once again welcoming applicants for its 2022 intake in September.

The successful engineering apprenticeship scheme runs from its Welshpool headquarters and has supported dozens of young people to get a foot on the engineering ladder, with opportunities to develop their skills whilst being mentored by some of the finest engineers in the UK. The company, a specialist in cold-forming and CNC machining, has seen many that have gone through the apprentice programme go on to achieve great success in higher education and engineering careers.

The recruitment process includes a rigorous and increasingly challenging interview process which involves a test. The most promising are invited back for a week’s work experience – with the top three or four being taken on permanently in September.

The scheme can lead to a variety of qualifications and has different entry levels: while most candidates join after their GCSEs, some may already have finished A-levels.

Les Reeves, Joint Managing Director at Dawson Shanahan, says: “Local schools see us as a preferred employer where the students are given a great opportunity to shine.” He adds: “It’s a great way to promote and support engineering in the area and it helps us source the various skills that will further enhance our operations.”

In their first year, apprentices spend three days a week at college; in their second year this drops to one day, as they spend more time in different departments and in the company’s training school learning key theory – including engineering drawing – and technical skills such as ‘speeds and feeds’.

The training school is a separate area within the factory dedicated to apprentice training. As well as having classroom facilities, it includes a range of equipment including a CNC wire-eroding machine.

“The school is also used to help existing staff members improve their skills”, says Reeves and adds: “Over the years, the apprenticeship scheme has developed many ‘time-served’ apprentices, who have gone on to work with us full-time. We also support those post-apprenticeships who want to go on and do a HNC or HND.”

“We’re looking for all-rounders,” says Reeves. “People who are natural problem-solvers but are also computer-literate and able to program. Anyone who would like to learn more about our can learn more on the Dawson Shanahan website.