PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right – Richard Wilson, Kevin Duffy and John Colclough.

A Coventry manufacturing business is taking the apprenticeship route to support its development as it moves into a new era.

MPL Fabrications has taken on a new welding and fabrications apprentice through college group WCG after coming through an uncertain period for the business.

The light sheet metal company, based on Alderman’s Green industrial estate, has been in business for 40 years and was taken over by managing director Kevin Duffy, whose father-in-law founded the company, after the former owner passed away suddenly.

Kevin was tasked with guiding the business through a difficult period and it is now enjoying significant growth, with sales growing by 20 per cent month-on-month.

This has included securing a string of new customers and bringing the firm’s customer base up to 90 across the UK.

MPL Fabrications’ workforce has its foundations in apprenticeships, with one former apprentice having been with the business for 36 years.

Richard Wilson, 16, is the company’s latest apprentice and will be completing a Welding and Fabrications apprenticeship through college group WCG – with time spent studying at its Royal Leamington Spa College site.

Kevin said: “We have strong track record with apprentices over the years and supporting them in their development all the way up Level 3 and beyond.

“The business is expanding and we are continuing to look to win new business. This made it the perfect time to offer someone the opportunity to train as a welding specialist.

“Working with WCG has been seamless. The funding opportunities were explained well to us, the college dealt with administration and supplied a good selection of candidates.

“I’m a firm believer that offering apprenticeships can be as beneficial to the business as the employee. It’s important that people are given a chance to specialise in a skill – being academically successful doesn’t have to be the goal.”

Richard added: “I’ve always worked with my hands from a young age and I’ve always enjoyed that kind of work. The apprenticeship has been very good so far and college has been great to improve my welding skills.

“I’m spending two days at a college a week and the other three working at the business, so I’m developing skills all the time. I want to keep improving and build a career in the business.”

John Colclough, Business Development Manager at WCG, added: “Apprentices can be a valuable asset to any business – be that a start-up or a business that is pursuing a growth strategy, such as MPL Fabrications.

“We were pleased to be able to work with Kevin to ensure he had the right calibre of candidates for his position and that now he has been able to fill the vacancy.”