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Apprentices are a cost-effective solution for Sirane

Mechatronics apprentices Rheon Paul left and Nathan Stubbs at Sirane

Food packaging specialist Sirane has been employing apprentices through Telford College for around a decade – and says the partnership has been a great success.

The company, which has three bases in Telford, was founded 20 years ago with the aim of ‘providing a new pace of innovation and level of service to the packaging industry’.

It currently has four Telford College apprentices who divide their time between the company’s three manufacturing sites in the town – two at Stafford Park, and one at Halesfield.

Rheon Paul and Nathan Stubbs, both 18, have just begun a mechatronics apprenticeship with Sirane.

Nathan, from Ketley, originally went down the university route, but decided it wasn’t for him.

He said: “I feel much more comfortable with an apprenticeship, being able to be working and earning money, as well as learning.

“I enjoy the fact that you get to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds, as well as learning the different skills for your trade.

“I’d like to get a full-time job in this sector. I’m enjoying it a lot, and I know there is a lot of opportunity in Telford for engineering.”

Rheon, from St Georges, previously studied level three aviation at Telford College, and has his sights set on a career in the avionics sector.

He said: “I chose to move onto an apprenticeship because I felt it would give me a greater level of practical skills than any other route.

“It suits me well because I’m interested in engineering. This job is giving me step-by-step experience on lots of different machines.”

Nathan Stubbs at work at Sirane

Sirane’s group engineering manager Sean Whitfield – who studied polymer technology at Telford College – said: “We’ve had links with the college for about nine or 10 years now, and it’s working really well for us.

“Our business is pretty unique, so even if we were to employ a fully qualified engineer they would have to go through a degree of re-training.

“So it makes sense for us to go down the apprenticeships route – it’s much more cost-effective for us to be able to train people from the beginning, to our own specific requirements.”

He added: “We have a policy of promoting people from the shop floor wherever we can at Sirane, so there is a clear progression path for our apprentices.

“We work closely with the team at Telford College to ensure that the tasks they are being given at work are in keeping with the things they are learning during their time at college.

“There is no doubt at all that going down the apprenticeships route has really worked out for us.”

  • This week is National Apprenticeship Week, celebrating the benefits of becoming or employing an apprentice. For more details about Telford College’s current apprenticeship opportunities, click here