HRH The Princess Royal visited the global headquarters of Xtrac
, the motorsport and automotive transmission technology specialist, last week to meet recipients of her Princess Royal Training Award, assessed by the City & Guilds Group she serves as president. The visit followed the presentation of the 2021 award to 46 businesses at a special ceremony in April, at the Mansion House in London, hosted by the Lord Mayor.
Peter Dibby, Xtrac president, said: “Having twice received the Princess Royal Training Award, including in 2018, we were delighted to accommodate this visit following the recent official opening of our new apprenticeship academy. We warmly welcomed her gracious comments about the hard work we put into our apprenticeship and graduate training schemes and that we should be justly proud of our success and achievements.”
Starting his career as a British Airways apprentice and Xtrac’s longest-serving employee, the company’s president has long supported the development of its apprentice scheme. “Our training programmes provide a solid foundation underpinning the technical and sales success we’ve achieved since the company started in 1984. Today, we employ almost 400 highly trained staff in the UK and USA.”
During her visit, the newly built computer-aided engineering classroom facilitated The Princess and Ms Donnelly participating in a round table discussion on ‘Females in Engineering’ with apprentice Faye Cooke and graduate engineers Jessica Matthews and Katie Parton.
The Princess Royal also met in the Academy’s practical skills workshop with Xtrac’s professional training partners, including Shelly Van Meter, head of department and apprenticeships, and Cliff Newcomb, development coach, Newbury College. She also met master coachmaker Sarah Sillars and coachmaker John Blauth, from the Worshipful Company of Coachmaker and Harness Makers, who support apprentices with educational bursaries.
During Xtrac’s manufacturing facilities tour, Mr Digby and Xtrac CEO Adrian Moore explained its operations to The Princess, who met with former and current apprentices and saw first hand Xtrac’s high-precision bevel-gear cutting, and meticulous grinding operations, saw how the company achieves full traceability of all components in the quality department. The tour ended with an overview of Xtrac’s impressive heat treatment operation.
Mr Moore, who began his career as an undergraduate sponsored by Rolls-Royce, is highly supportive of the company’s training programmes, which the board of directors and senior management team collectively endorse.
He said: “Our training programmes strongly underpin the continual improvement of our capabilities. It receives the highest priority throughout the business, supporting the company demand for a highly trained multi-skilled workforce to ensure our customers have the best products and services.”
“It is particularly relevant now as we are at the forefront of a once-in-a-generation technology change as the motorsport and automotive industry transitions from the internal combustion engine to hybrids and electric vehicles. Empowering our employees ensures we have the best people delivering innovative solutions to our customers globally. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise similarly recognised Xtrac in 2020 with its Innovation Award for our advanced range of integrated lightweight electric vehicle transmissions.”
Xtrac introduced its apprenticeship scheme in 1993 and has worked with Newbury College since 2003 to deliver its apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing. It has since been an exemplar of engineering training and learning best practices in a high-growth company. The investment into its Academy is part of Xtrac’s ongoing business expansion, in tandem with additional ‘state of art’ test facilities and increased manufacturing capacity to meet growing global demand.