Cambridgeshire-based contract manufacturer Prima Electronic Services (www.primagroup.co.uk
) has established a multi-faceted apprentice programme to nurture young technology-motivated talent.
Working in conjunction with Cambridge Regional College, it is designed to give participants a solid foundation in manufacturing-based engineering.
The initial apprentice intake at Prima’s St Ives plant began back in January, with additional trainees starting a few months earlier. Splitting their time between the college (one day a week) and the production site (four days a week), they are all due to complete their respective programmes in mid-2022.
To give them a taste of various different engineering disciplines, the Prima recruits spend consecutive four-month periods working in a range of departments within the company. The objective of this is to give them an overview of all aspects of manufacturing, and allow them to decide which area they might like to specialise in.
The apprentices get to carry out functional testing, mechanical assembly, fault finding and debugging, as well as learning how to operate surface-mount placement machinery and to interpret data from AOI/machine vision inspection systems.
In addition, they will also get involved, to some extent, with improving processes to boost operational efficiency and assist in product development activities.
Over the course of the training programme there are also planned visits to other manufacturing facilities and customers’ premises — thereby giving them an insight into different working environments and business practices. Another important aspect is that Prima apprentices are given projects that will challenge them and help to build their confidence.
Each is given an engineering project, as part of their college education, but on top of that they also have the opportunity to take ownership of a particular part of an ongoing customer-led project at the plant.
By the time the Prima apprentices finish the programme, they will have gained a Level 3 qualification in Electrical & Electronic Engineering which could lead on to an HNC.
Having started his career as a Prima apprentice, engineering services manager Charlie Colbert said: “This is a great route through which school leavers can progress into becoming well-rounded manufacturing technicians, and kick-start their long-term professional development.
“Among the essential skills they will pick up are working as part of a team, problem solving and keeping to deadlines. Following on from this, there is even the possibility of the company funding certain candidates to continue their studies at university.”
Prima Electronic Services, established 30 years ago, supports the medical, robotics, communications, factory automation, environmental monitoring and wearable technology sectors and is a highly-effective and greatly valued contract manufacturing partner.
The company offers a wide range of services including PCB assembly, surface-mount assembly, conventional through-hole assembly and box build. Working closely with customers and its experienced technical team can take projects from the initial prototyping phase and rapidly move into full-scale production.
Through its superior engineering credentials and stringent test/inspection procedures, Prima is able to deliver right-first-time products, no matter what the level of complexity. Among the supplementary services provided by the company are box build, functional testing and system integration.