Bespoke automotive engineering services company Envisage Group Ltd has been shortlisted as part of the Made in the Midlands Business Insider awards for the strength of its apprenticeship training scheme. Envisage works with the world’s largest and most prestigious car manufacturers to create concept vehicles for motor shows and even low-volume production runs of luxury vehicles from its base in Coventry.
The business was nominated by its further education partner, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) because of its strong track record of helping young people to join the sector and follow meaningful careers. Envisage is built on keeping heritage and hand-working skills alive, while also embracing the latest digital technology. It relies on home-grown talent and has trained 23 apprentices over the last three years with nine individuals currently on programme. Assessment for the Envisage Group’s apprentices is provided by NWSLC and also takes place the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI).
The Made in the Midlands Awards, now in its tenth year, are due to be presented at a prestigious awards ceremony on Thursday 3 September 2020 at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham.
NWSLC, which provides assessment for the Envisage Group’s apprentices, testifies to the company’s commitment to continuous professional development. Established in 2009, Envisage depends on a highly skilled workforce that thrives on creativity, craftsmanship, innovation and excellence as its works towards its goal of becoming the world’s most successful bespoke engineering services company. Envisage is based on five sites across Coventry in the heart of the UK’s specialist engineering industry and has international offices in the USA and India.
Paul Dancer, strategic lead for technical apprenticeships at NWSLC said, “Envisage has consistently demonstrated a firm commitment to helping young people as they start out on career paths in the engineering sector. The company shows a great deal of care and consideration for the apprentices they employ and really takes time to make sure that they are in the right roles, being supported by experienced mentors as well as college assessors.”
Envisage depends on a high standard of craft skills for the manufacture of luxury, bespoke and classic vehicles for high net worth individuals. Its apprenticeship scheme is integral to its productivity strategy and Envisage demonstrates strong commitment from board level to the recruitment, support and development of apprentices across multiple pathways.
Apprentices benefit from being exposed to a range of professional pathways across the four different business units within Envisage so that they can stretch and challenge themselves, improving their confidence and independence as they move amongst the organisation’s multiple sites.
David Barry, who leads on apprentice liaison for Envisage, developed a specific pathway for apprentices based on using aluminium rather than steel in the production process which he shared with the college, enabling it to develop its offer more widely.
He said, “We are truly honoured to be considered for this award and are so grateful to the college for its nomination. Apprentices have underpinned the rapid growth of Envisage over the last nine years. Young people who have joined the business to learn skilled trades are consistently retained by the organisation and promoted to more senior roles. Craft abilities in manufacturing by hand are in short supply within the labour market and apprenticeships have enabled Envisage to tailor skills development specifically for its own needs. We have to train our 150-strong workforce in-house as our products are unique. Developing a highly skilled team that can follow Envisage processes from the beginning helps to embed a culture of forensic attention to detail and high standards of quality.
“We make time for apprentices to carry out extra study during working hours if they need to brush up their portfolio. I always encourage apprentices to carry on with their qualifications and work towards an HNC and HND. In this business, you never stop learning and with advances in technology, nothing stands still for long.”
Apprenticeships include mechanical engineering, fabrication and welding, technical support and business administration. Apprentices learn a range of skills including how to work with jigs and fixtures, tooling, CAD, rapid prototyping, CNC machining, trim development and CMM.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “I am delighted that Envisage Group Ltd has been shortlisted for recognition as part of these awards. This company is a prime example of how a strategic apprenticeship scheme can boost commercial growth and secure the manufacturing skills pipeline. We are proud to work with Envisage and wish them the best of luck for the finals later in the year.”