David Wells is Managing Director of JW Froehlich UK, a global manufacturer of test and assembly systems with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and branches in the UK, the USA and China. He has been working with Innovion since it was first launched in 2020 and gives us an employer perspective on how the partnership has supported his business.
“Like many in my position, I started out as an engineering apprentice and progressed my career over time, which included completing a master’s degree in The Design of Production Machines and Systems in my mid 20s at Cranfield University. I have always championed apprenticeships as a highly effective route through which to enter industry, and JW Froehlich has appointed apprentices for over 45 years. Many of them are still with us and have themselves progressed through the business.
“There are simply not enough well qualified engineers available though. We are committed to developing homegrown talent and reluctantly accept that we lose people to other companies along the way. So, whilst we want to keep good engineers, we are pleased to have supported them at the start of their careers and that they are retained in the wider industry. It’s why we see recruiting apprentices as an effective way of securing an ongoing pipeline of talent.
“I thrive on seeing people start out and grow to become confident and competent engineers who are an asset to our company and the wider industry. Finding the right candidates is a challenge. Making sure we have the right training provider is therefore essential. That is why I became a member of Innovion.
“Firstly, I was attracted to Innovion because they focus purely on technical education and skills. And secondly, in my opinion, they’ve got the offer right.
“It starts with knowledge and partnership. Individually, time is spent understanding our business needs and collectively, through the Industry Council, we participate in the co-design of training programmes and delivery models. We therefore know the product is what we need.
“It’s then about execution. Innovion provides services that start with attracting and recruiting candidates and follows through to delivery of quality apprenticeship standards and professional development. They also assist in maximizing use of our levy, both within the organization and through our supply chain.
“In short, Innovion thinks and operates like a business. Their products and services provide what we need, and strong relationship management ensures that remains the case.
“My organisation is transitioning from supplying assembly and test equipment for internal combustion engines to electric drives and batteries. This has meant a shift in the skills we need and Innovion has worked with us to ensure that our apprenticeship programme will deliver. That’s why, rather than being somewhere we simply send our apprentices to, we consider Innovion the long-term training partner for our organisation.”