Apprentices from MEL Aviation Ltd and Delphi Diesel Systems experience alternative engineering during National Apprenticeship Week.

Apprentices from MEL Aviation Ltd and Delphi Diesel Systems experience alternative engineering during National Apprenticeship Week.

Two emerging technology companies from Sudbury arranged an apprentice swap during National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March) to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Lewis Drew, an apprentice at MEL Aviation and Samuel Osborne, an apprentice at Delphi Diesel Systems, swapped for the day on the 10th March to get an understanding in alternative engineering. The job-swap was arranged to give the apprentices an insight into the way other businesses in the engineering and technology sector work, and to directly broaden the experience of the people involved.

To add to the week, on the 9th March, a group of 8 apprentices from Delphi Diesel Systems visited MEL Aviation for an introduction about the company and a full site tour. The same took place on the 13th at MEL Aviation. This is just one of the initiatives encouraged by the Skills Funding Agency who organised hundreds of events and activities throughout the week across England.

Delphi Diesel Systems manufactures diesel fuel injection equipment (FIE) for use on and off highways. The company is currently the second largest supplier of FIE in the world with a global manufacturing footprint. It has extensive CAD; rapid prototyping and multi axis machining experience utilising current addictive manufacturing technologies on a daily basis to produce design verification models, castings patterns and functional experimental parts for both mechanical and electrical applications. While MEL Aviation heads The MEL Group.

The original business was founded to provide service and support for military aircrew life support ground equipment. During the last 10 years the company has developed into a total engineering solution provider for the military, civil aviation and commercial engineering sectors providing design, overhaul and manufacturing solutions to customers worldwide. The business has been based in Sudbury since 1973 and is still a family run concern. Aryton Artiss, who is currently an apprentice at MEL Aviation, said:

I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship so far, it has allowed me to develop new skills and gain experience working in the aviation industry. I can work in different areas within MEL which helps me to expand my learning.

Employers, apprentices, business support organisations, learning providers, colleges and schools across the UK were encouraged to support National Apprenticeship Week by hosting activities to showcase the achievements and benefits of Apprenticeships. MD Gary Harvey, who started out as an apprentice at MEL Aviation himself, said:

Over the past decades there has been a focus on sending a lot more young people to university, but now there is a renewed effort to promote apprenticeships, as we see graduates struggling to find work.

Apprentices offer an alternative route to people who are keen to succeed but are unsure about university as an option. People who were my apprentices over 20 years ago are still in the business, and pretty much all the members of the management team today started off on the shop floor.” “We are happy to be raising the profile of Apprenticeships and celebrating the important role they have in equipping people of all ages with the skills that they need to prosper in their lives.”