Hoppecke Industrial Batteries has taken on the first two employees through its new apprenticeship programme. The scheme is designed to bring young people into the motive and rail battery manufacturing and servicing industry and give them a rewarding career in the sector.

Colin Williams, 28, was a battery builder working in the warehouse but to enable him to go further in his career, Hoppecke gave him an apprenticeship in battery engineering, working with a mentor, service manager, Tony Robinshaw. The plan is for Williams to become an on-the-road service engineer, repairing batteries and fork lift chargers on-site, with the career path potentially leading to him ultimately becoming a service manager.

“The job I’m doing now is more technical than being a battery fitter,” Williams said, “and it’s something I wanted to do since I started working here. But I was keen to start off from the beginning, work my way up and understand how it all works.”

The second employee to be taken on is Rachel Farr, 19, who has joined Hoppecke as a purchase ledger trainee straight from college. She said, “It was a great opportunity so I was delighted when I got on the scheme. It’s good, I’m really enjoying it.”

Hoppecke believes that practical training is the most important component of an apprenticeship and theoretical training deepens and anchors the knowledge gained from on-the-job training. A mentor is also a key factor in the scheme, giving apprentices guidance and following their progress.

Hoppecke Industrial Batteries’ UK sales & operations director, David Millett, said, “The logistics sector affects everybody’s lives – what they eat, what they wear, transport systems – but it doesn’t get the attention that, say, the manufacturing industry receives. We really need to see a much stronger emphasis on apprenticeships in logistics.”

“That’s why we believe in giving our young people the best possible support to enable them to reach their full potential. Colin and Rachel are just two examples and we aim to bring on many more apprentices throughout 2012.”