Don-Bur has just finished the build of a specialist training hub at their manufacturing plant in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent to provide dedicated resource to both apprentices and other trainees. The additional £50,000 investment demonstrates the critical importance of the Don-Bur staff development programmes.
Construction of the hub started in November 2021 and provides a tailored area, focussing primarily on the skills required for welding but also forms an additional general training area for other manual skills such as coachbuilding, fitting and assembling.
Key to the success of the training programmes are the apprentices themselves, many of whom come to Don-Bur via our partners, NSEG Training Association (North Staffordshire Engineering Group). One apprentice, Olivia Hughes, defied many preconceptions by starting a welding apprenticeship and came to Don-Bur in September 2021. Olivia considered her application and said, “I wanted to get into welding because I have always been a person who likes making things and watching it come together”. She added, “I had never touched a welding torch in my life but since I’ve been with Don-Bur, I have gained more confidence and skills. Don-Bur has given me the opportunity to be good at something I enjoy.”
Sam Jones, a robot and welding apprentice who started at Don-Bur a year ago agrees. “I feel that the confidence and experience I have gained has set me up, in a field that I have chosen, for life. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved from where I started to where I am one year later.”
Brad Greslow also came through the NSEG apprentice programme which included CNC machining and welding. “My experience at Don-Bur has been good because I’ve found a job that I like doing.” Brad now also works in the robot shop and has become another key team member.
Heading up the welding apprenticeship programme is Steve Abbotts. He has been at Don-Bur since 1999 where he started in roof fabrication before becoming the Hub Trainer for MIG, TIG and Arc welding disciplines. Welding apprentices who come in via NSEG have already reached Level 2 but require further development before they are able to start work on contract work. “Learning to weld is a bit like learning to drive”, Steve said. “Once you’ve passed your test, you then start learning.”
Don-Bur relies heavily on a skilled manual workforce. Each body or trailer has been designed specifically for each client and manufactured to a high level of precision. Lisa Blake, Human Resources Manager at Don-Bur concludes “We’re a people business. We make superb products from bare materials and skill is critical to the success of those production processes. The new Training Hub will help us to strengthen those skills and develop our colleagues for the future of the business.”
The new Training Hub design and development was done primarily by other trainees. Louis Patterson, who has completed his electrics 18th edition, is finishing his highest level qualifications this year and fitted all the electrics. Ben Blake, who is completing his engineering degree this summer, designed all the benches and hub construction. Lucas Kinnersley is a trainee graphic designer and helped develop the new 40th Anniversary logo.
Published: Fri 21 Jan 2022
Updated: Tue 09 Jan 2024
Author: Richard Owens
Published by: Don-Bur