Creative Composites encourages local businesses to build a lasting relationship with their local college in order to benefit from pool of student talent following Higher-Level Apprenticeship route.

Production Manager, Brian Wallace said, “We have enjoyed a productive relationship with South Eastern Regional College (SERC) for a number of years, supporting students on work experience and placement. We have found this most beneficial both in terms of sharing our experience and knowledge as the UK’s most advanced composite manufacturer and in terms of involving students in a range of projects and seeing first-hand what they are learning at college. This enables the students to practically apply their theoretical knowledge.  

“Taylor Trouton has been with us for the past year and a half and is a fantastic ambassador for both the College and Creative Composites – she is honest, hard-working and always up for a new challenge.

He added, “People are the most valuable asset, and the key to success of any organisation, so I would recommend to other businesses in the area to get involved with SERC and harness the pool of student talent coming through to their workforce. We have highly qualified, experienced, and motivated staff on site, and are well-equipped to respond to our customer demands throughout all stages of every project we undertake. We are strategically-positioned to benefit from the talent that is produced by our local universities and colleges and have benefited enormously from our partnership with SERC in particular. SERC produces high-calibre, motivated graduates from a range of programmes who we have been delighted to bring into the company, train in our processes and see develop in our busy, varied and exciting manufacturing environment. It is important that SERC graduates know they can grow with us, we want them to know where they are going and how they can get there, and we have many different options along our Creative career pathway. We are looking forward to working together further with SERC in the coming years, particularly to develop courses and programmes that will identify and fill the specific skills needs that exist within the manufacturing sector locally.”  

Taylor Trouton, 22, from Crossgar, completed her GCSEs at Saintfield High School before enrolling in South Eastern Regional College (SERC) where she successfully completed a Level 3 90-Credit Diploma in Engineering, achieving an overall double grade Distinction* Distinction at the Downpatrick Campus.

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Taylor said, “I was always good at maths and wanted to focus on this strong point which led me to engineering. I loved the course and attending SERC and soon realised I wanted to go further. I knew what I wanted to do and luckily, I could pursue this at SERC through a Higher-Level Apprenticeship programme where I am completing an Ulster University Foundation Degree in Mechatronic Engineering which unites the principles of mechanics, electronics and computing. It combines mechanical engineering problem-solving and design skills with the expertise of digital electronics and computer systems to produce advanced products and systems through automation and the use of robotics. It was the variety in the course that attracted me, plus I knew I would be using my maths skills.

“I started my career at Donite Plastics based in Saintfield, before moving to Creative Composites where I am employed as a CNC Technician.   My work involves programming machines that will cut a range of materials for customers from around the world, from vehicle designs to medical equipment. The work is interesting and challenging. Creative Composites are very supportive of me completing my qualifications. I work four days a week and attend SERC’s Lisburn Campus one day a week.  

She added, “The big advantage of following the Higher-Level Apprenticeship route is that I am out working, I am able to put my knowledge from college into my work and vice versa.   I am completing my education and thankfully, not getting into debt. I will complete my Apprenticeship and Foundation Degree this May and am looking forward to continuing my employment with Creative Composites - it is a great place to work, there are people there with vast amounts of experience which I am learning from every day.  

Finally, she said, “I would certainly recommend this route for qualifications and work to everyone. Matching your ambitions and qualifications with a supportive employer, leading in the sector is the way to go.”

SERC are hosting two Apprenticeship Job Fairs on Wednesday, 1 May, 5.30 – 7.30pm Downpatrick Campus, Market Street, Downpatrick and on 20 June, 5.30 – 7.30pm, SPACE, Castle Park Road, Bangor.

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