From education to employment


Photo of four men in engineering workshop

A former apprentice technician who rose to become CEO of the company he trained with, has donated hundreds of precision tools to the workshops where he trained at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC). Peter Lillicrapp from Europa Tool in Nuneaton returned to the college’s engineering studios to present engineering cutting tools worth £17,000 for students to use as part of their study programmes.

Peter followed his engineering technician apprenticeship at NWSLC’s Nuneaton Campus between 1977 and 1982 and progressed to gain higher level qualifications. He is now CEO of Europa Tool based at Kingfisher Court, which is part of a global conglomerate with 31 manufacturing plants around the world, 5,000 employees and a head office in Seoul, South Korea.

Peter said, “With no real-world knowledge, I was advised to follow an apprenticeship when I left school and at NWSLC, I learned everything from being in the machine shop to working in the welding workshops. I remember every one of my lecturers who were all excellent and gave me a great foundation for my career. I started by learning about manufacturing before moving on to develop design and drawing skills. I enjoyed every moment of my time at the college.”

Originally Clarkson International which closed in 2001, Europa brought the business back to Nuneaton in 2015. As part of his visit to the college, Peter extended the opportunity for engineering students to respond to briefs from Europa and demonstrate their skills on live projects.

Commenting on his donation of equipment, Peter said, “I am happy to give something back to new students and apprentices who are starting their journey in the same way that I did. The tools are from surplus stock, and we are only too happy for them to be passed on to where they will be appreciated. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone. They prepare you well for working life and provide enough variety and scope to open doors into all types of careers.”

Also returning to college to deliver the tool donation were two other former students, Sam Jones and Rhys Chappell who studied sports science and hairdressing at NWSLC and are now employed as office manager and as part of the Europa sales team.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and CEO of NWSLC said, “We are very grateful to Peter for this generous donation of equipment to our engineering studios. It is always gratifying when our students return to us and let us know how well they are progressing. It is vital for our students that we maintain links with local businesses like Europa so that they can benefit from access to the latest tools and equipment and discover some really exciting career opportunities.

“Engineering and manufacturing remain a cornerstone of the UK economy and predicted future skills shortage within an ageing workforce mean that lucrative careers are open to those who get qualified.” 

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