Atlas Copco Compressors is training compressor engineers of the future and, in the process, helping to address the UK’s engineering skills gap through its comprehensive apprenticeship scheme. The scheme, which provides apprentices with the practical engineering skills and commercial experience required for a career in the compressed air sector, is also helping Atlas Copco to maintain the high standards of compressor engineering excellence for which it is renowned.

Donald Draffan, a First Year Apprentice based at Atlas Copco’s Cumbernauld Service Centre commented: “My training has already given me real hands-on experience with the latest compressor technology which is great, but it is also giving me an insight into the commercial side of the industry and how an organisation such as Atlas Copco operates. I really believe this combination will enable me to develop all of the necessary technical and business skills and expertise needed for a career as a compressor engineer”.

The apprenticeship scheme, which Atlas Copco operates in partnership with local colleges, provides apprentices with real-time experience and training within Atlas Copco’s engineering environment, based at any of its regional service centres or the Systems Engineering facilities located at the company’s UK headquarters in Hemel Hempstead.

Commenting on the thinking behind the scheme, Paul Frost, Manager of Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead division said: “By running our own apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with local colleges we are able to recruit suitable young engineers who will develop on a personal level whilst reinforcing our own engineering capabilities for the future. This helps to maintain the high quality products and support for which we are well known, as well as long term benefits for the trainee, Atlas Copco and ultimately, our customers.”

There are currently six apprentices on the scheme with the number of places available each year varying, depending on the specific requirement of the company’s business divisions at the time. The average apprenticeship lasts between three to four years, depending on the relevant technical college course embarked upon and the experience and qualifications of the individual student. As a starting point, student candidates require A to C grades for GCSE English, Maths and Science. A typical example of a course curriculum for an apprentice service engineer includes completion of NVQ2 Performing Engineering Operations in year one, a BTEC National Diploma Level 3 in years two and three, and from years one to four an NVQ3 company qualification in engineering maintenance.

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