Microchip manufacturers Newport Wafer Fab are encouraging other Welsh businesses to recruit apprentices. The Welsh Government’s new apprenticeship recruitment incentives, which run until 28 February, mean there has never been a better time to get involved.
The company, who develop and deploy a wide range of semiconductor technologies, have been running their Apprenticeship Programme for over 25 years – nurturing talent that already exists within Wales to help them future-proof their workforce. Simon Argent, HR director at Newport Wafer Fab, said:
“Apprentices are a key part of our workforce at Newport Wafer Fab. Bringing fresh talent into the business is really important for us as apprentices bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the team. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without our apprentices, they increase productivity and enable us to train staff in the specific skills we need. They have had a positive impact on the whole workforce.
“Our apprentices are all paired with a mentor, giving our existing employees a chance to develop managerial skills – which is an added benefit to the company as a whole. It allows us to increase the skill levels of our current staff as well as plugging skills gaps”.
The company have also seen the indirect benefits of recruiting an apprentice. Simon added:
“Most of our apprentices are aged between 18 and 22 years old and have grown up with technology. They have a different way of thinking and they positively challenge our existing thought processes. As in any industry, it is imperative that we stay competitive and ahead of the game within the marketplace, and our apprentices bring a fresh perspective to the company.
“Not only are apprenticeships a cost-effective way of developing talent, but they are also an investment in the future. Our Apprenticeship Training Programme is tailored to meet our business needs and our apprentices are able to apply their learnings to their work immediately. They are well equipped when they finish the Programme, with an intrinsic knowledge of the business and its demands.”
Having full exposure to the company is a key principle of the Programme offered at Newport Wafer Fab. Simon explained: “Our apprentices rotate around the company throughout their training, meaning they spend time with an engineer at each stage of the manufacturing process. Naturally, we then get a view of where they best fit within the business whilst they are able to recognise their strengths.
“We have seen for ourselves the long-term benefits of the Apprenticeship Programme, many of our senior engineers and engineering mentors were once apprentices: this knowledge and expertise is filtered down to ensure our current apprentices are learning from the best. We are also able to tap into this experience to help inform our plans for training future apprentices.”
This year, Wafer Fab have recruited four apprentices across the business, in addition to three apprentices that were brought into the business in 2019. Cameron Williams is one of them.
Cameron, a 22-year-old electrical engineering apprentice from Neath, said: “The knowledge gained through my apprenticeship so far has given me a rounded view of electrical engineering, which has put me in a great position to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer.
“I chose to pursue this route to gain the real-life experience alongside training, without it, I wouldn’t truly understand the complexities that come with the job. I can learn the skills needed to keep me safe, alongside the theory that is needed to do the job and have a successful career. I want to go on to do a Degree Apprenticeship in Engineering”.
The Welsh Government has recently announced a new package of incentives to encourage employers to recruit apprentices, with businesses in Wales now eligible to claim up to £3,000 for each apprentice they recruit.
Ken Stakes, Minister of Economy, Transport and North Wales said: Ken Stakes, Minister of Economy, Transport and North Wales said: “Apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity to learn whilst earning a wage and it’s great to see that Newport Wafer Fab are successfully nurturing and developing their apprentices.
“The impact of coronavirus and the fast approaching end of the EU transition period have placed incredible pressures on our economy, with businesses across Wales facing many challenges. The new incentives offered for apprenticeships will support employers to strengthen their business, as well as giving young people in Wales a real chance to shine.
“Apprenticeships play a crucial part in the Welsh economy and I urge business owners to consider the benefits that apprentices can bring to their workforce.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit
www.gov.wales/apprenticeshipswales or call 03000 6 03000.