Specialist gear company filling engineering skills gaps with apprenticeships
Developing a multi-skilled and flexible workforce has helped Compact Orbital Gears become a leading name in specialist gear transmissions for more than 50 years.
The company, which has a workforce of 43 based in Rhayader, designs, manufactures and develops bespoke gear solutions for aerospace, automotive and clean energy customers.
This ability to offer bespoke solutions is key to the company’s success. Established in the 1960s, Compact Orbital Gears is proud of its highly skilled workforce, family ethos and long history of recruiting apprentices from within Mid Wales.
Now the company has been shortlisted for the Small Employer of the Year award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.
This annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.
Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.
The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Compact Orbital Gears currently has three apprentices and five other young employees working towards Further Education qualifications. Myrick Training and NPTC Newtown Campus deliver qualifications including Performing Engineering Operations Level 2, Extended Diploma Mechanical Engineering Manufacture Level 3, HNC Level 4 in Mechanical Engineering and a BTEC in Business and Administration.
A focus on growing its own pool of skilled engineers is paying off for Compact Orbital Gears at a time when there is a UK shortage. Its Apprenticeship Programme provides technical training, supported by in-house specialist instruction with experienced employees sharing their skills and knowledge with apprentices.
Providing opportunities for development ensures that staff turnover at Compact Orbital Gears is very low and the company’s long term aim is to introduce state-of -the art, computer aided machinery which is ideally suited to apprentice development.
Believing that organic growth is key to the success of the business, the company also provides work placements for university graduates and budding engineers in local schools.
Tricia Evans, Compact Orbital Gears’ financial controller, said: “Most of our employees started with the company on an Apprenticeship Programme, one having recently completed 50 years of service with us.
“It is essential to the future success of our company that we develop and encourage new recruits, as they bring with them new learning and fresh ideas.”
Nick Jones, training and engineering manager at Myrick Training, said: “Compact Orbital Gears is very strong at recognising potential future engineering skills gaps in its workforce and is driven by a desire to support and nurture talent from within the company.”
Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “Our Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes are helping people fulfil their career ambitions and I’m delighted we have already reached our target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this Senedd term.
“This has been key in helping apprentices of all ages to gain important skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need. This will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of all involved, from star apprentices to skilled learning providers.
“I’d like to congratulate all the finalists announced for this year’s event and wish each and every one all the best for the future.”
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