College digs up success for JCB

A recruitment partnership between Stoke College and JCB to fill vacancies for welders has been hailed a success.

As result of JCB’s growth, the company has been in the process of recruiting skilled employees, particularly MIG welders. So JCB approached Stoke College and asked them to help.

Explains Lisa Davies, the College Recruitment Manager of Skills for Employment: “JCB Compact Products at Cheadle had a forward order book that required additional staff “.

“It was difficult to identify qualified and experienced MIG welders so our task was to upskill local individuals ”

Recruiting candidates mainly through JobCentrePlus and Work Force Employment in Hanley, Stoke College interviewed more than 100 unemployed adults and were able to offer 26 applicants bespoke pre-employment training in MIG welding with the necessary qualifications. Everyone who passed the course was guaranteed an interview at JCB. Out of the 26 candidates, 18 applicants secured employment at JCB Compact Products and JCB Heavy Products, Uttoxeter, via Work Force Employment, which has worked with the college and JCB to facilitate the project. A number of other applicants successfully secured employment elsewhere as a result of the course.

A JCB spokesman said: “Employment levels at JCB now match pre-recession levels and recruitment of high calibre people, particularly welders, is of high priority.

“We work with a number of organisations to fill vacancies for welders and the training partnership with Stoke-on-Trent College has been very useful in filling some of the vacancies we have. We still have vacancies for welders and would welcome applications from suitably qualified individuals.”

One of the new recruits under the scheme is Adam Campbell, 23, of Hollington. He worked as a welder before but needed to be code tested and working to the welding code EN287-1 which the college provided training for. He said: “The tutors at the college were incredibly helpful. I needed to do the course to get the job but as I had some experience, I managed to finish and pass all the tests with a couple of days to spare.

“I then went for my guaranteed interview at JCB Compact Products and a week later I was told I’d got the job. Having been unemployed for the previous four months, I was thrilled.” Though he’d worked as a welder before, Adam had most recently been working in maintenance but was made redundant. He’s been with JCB for nearly four months now.

Rory McIntyre-Pell, 21, had been working as a joiner before joining JCB. All was going fine for him until the recession hit when work became scarce. He tried self employment but that too was a struggle: “The work and the money weren’t guaranteed and no one wanted to pay. In my last job as a shopfitter I was laid off when the shop went bust.

“So when I found out about the course at Stoke College which could lead directly to employment at JCB, I leapt at it. I was completely new to welding but I knew it was a good job to have. A great skill to acquire that attracted good wages. You also get qualifications to back it up.

“It’s hard work but well worth it. I’ve only just started but my work’s been quality checked and I’ve passed. Which is a great feeling.”

Added Lisa Davies: “This success with JCB is a measure of how responsive Stoke College is to the market. We have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and as such we can deliver skills and training that are in demand and offer people in Staffordshire skills and access to sustainable employment.

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