Siemens opened the first Junior Factory for apprentices at its award-winning Congleton facility during the Government's flagship Tomorrows Engineers Week.
Opened by UK and Ireland chief executive Roland Aurich it will act as a 'small factory within a factory' run by commercial and technical apprentices aged 16-21.
They will take on key leadership roles and be responsible for the full breadth of the factory's progress. The initiative is open to all apprentices and graduates as part of Siemens' plans to train young people both in engineering and business management.
The Junior Factory will manufacture a sub-assembly for supply into production previously imported and represent a re-shoring of domestic manufacturing. The team will be responsible for sourcing and supply chain management, production of sub-assemblies, quality management, budgeting, transfer pricing and performance management.
A business case about how they see the factory working was prepared by the team and presented to the senior management board earlier this year. Initially the factory will be responsible for the complete supply chain for assembly of fans for use within Siemens G120C drives and the team will have complete ownership for the value chain.
"I never thought that as part of an apprenticeship I would be given the opportunity to take on this level of responsibility,? comments Richard Lawton who is acting as head of the Junior Factory. ?I am really looking forward to working with the team to make the project a success over the coming year and learning about how running a full assembly line works in practice."
The apprentices will be responsible for ensuring that customer demands are fulfilled in the most cost effective way. They will be responsible for the creation of an annual budget and be given a productivity challenge on an annual basis.
"This ground-breaking project is a great opportunity for tomorrow's engineers to get the training and experience they need to establish a successful career,? observes Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. ?The Junior Factory is a fantastic example of how we can innovate to plug skills gaps and help the UK get ahead in the global race."