From education to employment

Apprentice Ollie Leadbetter Part of Award-winning Compact Orbital Gears Company

@NPTCGroup of Colleges were delighted to hear that Compact Orbital Gears (COG) in Rhayader, were announced as winners of the Small Employer of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.

The company has a long history of working with Newtown College (part of NPTC Group of Colleges) to support and train new apprentices. They are a specialist in the design, manufacture and development of bespoke gear solutions for aerospace, automotive and clean energy customers.

The Award Ceremony which took place virtually, showcased 35 finalists who have excelled, many going above and beyond expectations to achieve success during unprecedented times.

The latest Pathway Training Apprentice to follow a line of successful placements at Compact Orbital Gears (COG) is Ollie Leadbetter. Ollie, 16 years old from Y Fan Llanidloes, is studying Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations Diploma which he is due to complete in July 2021. He attends college three days a week and works at COG as a Lathe Machine Operator two days a week during term time and five days a week during non-term time. He will progress to Level 3 Mechanical Engineering in September of this year.

Our Pathways Training department support students to develop work-related skills and qualifications which are industry-recognised in a wide range of sectors. The apprenticeship routes in Engineering have a progression option to do the Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations Diploma, Level 3 Mechanical Engineering, HNC Level 4 in Engineering and then on to Degree Level.

This proves to be a very positive route for many who are aged over 16 years, and want to earn a wage whilst receiving other employee benefits in a career of their choice.
Developing a multi-skilled and flexible workforce has helped Compact Orbital Gears become a leading name in specialist gear transmissions for more than 50 years.
The company, which has a workforce of 43 established in the 1960s and is proud of its highly skilled workforce, family ethos and long history of recruiting apprentices from within Mid Wales.

Congratulating the winners, economy minister Vaughan Gething said:

“Our award winners have excelled via the Welsh Government’s apprenticeship and traineeship programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during unprecedented and extremely challenging times.

“This Welsh Government has ambitious recovery plans to ensure there is no lost generation as we rebuild a new version of Wales that becomes an engine for sustainable, inclusive growth. I believe apprenticeships will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.

“That’s why the new Welsh Government has committed to creating a further 125,000 apprenticeship places over the next five years. We are a small country, but we have big ambitions, and our aim is to create a culture in Wales where recruiting an apprentice becomes the norm for employers.”

A focus on growing its pool of skilled engineers is paying off for Compact Orbital Gears at a time when there is a UK shortage. Its Apprenticeship Programme provides technical training, supported by in-house specialist instruction with experienced employees sharing their skills and knowledge with apprentices.

Tricia Evans, Compact Orbital Gears’ financial controller, said:

“It is essential to the future success of our company that we develop and encourage new recruits, as they bring with them new learning and fresh ideas.”

“We are extremely pleased to have been recognised as Small Business Employer of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021. An apprenticeship programme is essential to ensuring the provision of a skilled workforce at Compact Orbital Gears. We are grateful for the support provided by both NPTC Group of Colleges, Newtown College and Myrick training in ensuring that our apprenticeship programme meets the needs of both the learner and the employer” Production Manager and COG Rob Price.

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