MIDDLESEX Aerospace, based in Telford Road, lifts the lid on apprenticeships at the aerospace manufacturing and engineering company.

Paul Foulds, chief executive officer of the firm, said: “Apprenticeships have always been the foundation of our business ever since our father founded the company in 1945. Not only do we teach individual skills but the apprentice learns how the company works which makes them an extremely valuable asset to the business.”

In the current era, Middlesex Aerospace is working with Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) to create new pathways for students wishing to embark on a career in the aerospace industry.

At the end of the training, the apprentices will be fully qualified engineers and then have the opportunity to seek employment in the sector or develop their skills further to gain qualifications to HNC, HND, and degree level.

Laurie Foulds, co-owner and managing director of Middlesex Group, said: "We highly value our continuing partnership with BCoT who have produced excellent employees over the years. More than half of the Middlesex Aerospace management board are ex-apprentices."

The sponsorship scheme is aimed at entry level students who wish to pursue a career in engineering and is a move away from the traditional post-graduate selection process that many companies adopt.

If you are interested to become a Middlesex Aerospace apprentice, in the first instance you need to contact BCoT to enrol in a full time engineering course.

Should you choose to follow this path, and you are successful during your first year at college, then you may be invited by Middlesex Aerospace to join its apprenticeship scheme.

Once you have a place on the apprenticeship scheme, the firm will sponsor you through college for a further three years on a day release basis whilst you gain on-site training and experience within the company.

Karon Chewter, head of faculty at BCoT, said: "Middlesex Aerospace is a fantastic supporter of apprenticeships in the community. They work hand-in-hand with us at BCoT to provide an outstanding apprenticeship framework for both the technical certificate and NVQ programmes. Recently, engineering and manufacturing companies have struggled to recruit qualified, skilled engineers because of the skills shortage. This sponsorship recognises the need to train and develop the next generation of engineers."

Roger Rustell, apprentice mentor and human resources co-ordinator at Middlesex Aerospace, added: “Training apprentices not only gives them the necessary skills but firmly embeds them into the companies culture and they certainly become one of the family.

"The apprenticeship scheme at Middlesex Aerospace provides a solid foundation for a career in engineering, covering all areas of our business. It also allows apprentices to develop confidence to lead meetings, presenting and working with senior company executives internally and externally.

"If you train your workforce from within, especially from a young age as an apprentice, they will almost certainly become a valuable and loyal asset to your business."

Case study:

Ryan Cox joined Middlesex Aerospace on an apprenticeship programme at the age of 17.

After his apprenticeship finished, he was asked if he would like to work within the hub cell milling section. This was a role he enjoyed for the next five years.

In April 2011 he took the position of technical sales and estimating. During his time in this position he had varied roles which included account management, project management, estimating, building quotations, and cost based exercises.

In mid-2015 he then joined the supply chain department where main duties included carrying out supplier audits, cost and quality-based improvement exercises with suppliers and other projects internally and externally.

Ryan said: "Throughout my time at Middlesex the company has always been extremely supportive in ensuring I have had the correct training and skills to back up current and future roles. As the company has grown within the aerospace industry so have its employees.

"When I started my apprenticeship if someone would have asked me what you think you will learn and gain during your time at Middlesex it would have been fairly brief, a good solid grounding in advanced engineering.

"However 14 years on not only has my knowledge in engineering grown but equally as important I have grown as a person. When I started I was quiet, shy and in honest lacking self-confidence. For me this has been so important.

"The journey I have been on has taught me so much about myself."