From education to employment

Jukebox manufacturer launches apprenticeship scheme with two new hires

Leeds-based jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure has launched a new apprenticeship scheme with the appointment of its first two apprentices. The 16-year-old recruits will help to ensure the continuity of the specialised craftsmanship and artisan skills that are essential to the business’ future.

Working with the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, which is showcasing the wide range of careers and opportunities available to young people among the city’s 1,800 manufacturing firms, the first apprentices to join the 85-strong firm are Richard Lomas and Clayton Fletcher.

The boys’ school, John Smeaton Academy in Leeds, has partnered with Sound Leisure as part of the manufacturing festival and, with the support of their resistant materials teacher Mr King, the pair were successful in securing places on the new apprenticeship scheme.

They will complete a level 2 furniture manufacturing apprenticeship, gaining the cabinet making skills that are vital to the production of the firm’s jukeboxes. The academic element of the apprenticeship will be delivered by North Lancs Training Group.

Sound Leisure has manufactured more than 100,000 jukeboxes at its Leeds factory since it started out in 1978, supplying the majority of its machines to private clients in the UK and overseas.

Managing director Chris Black said: “We are doing all we can to encourage young people – both boys and girls – into manufacturing. It really is vital that the younger workforce to come through to ensure that these valuable skills, the combination of traditional, highly skilled craftsmanship and modern electronics that are at the heart of Sound Leisure’s product range, aren’t lost as older team members retire.

“The skills that Richard and Clayton will learn during their apprenticeship are highly sought after and will place then among an exclusive group of craftspeople equipped to make exquisite products with a legacy that will reach well beyond their own lifetimes.”

Pete Longley, HR manager at Sound Leisure, added: “Young people are essential to the future of our business as they are to so many manufacturing firms:  they bring new blood, new ideas and enthusiasm.

“We are thrilled to welcome our first apprentices Richard and Clayton to the team, where they will learn the skills of cabinet making, and building all the intricate wooden components of our renowned jukebox cabinets. It’s an exceptionally skilled job and we’re sure they will gain a lot from the experience.”

Since Leeds Manufacturing Festival was launched at the end March, more than 2,500 school students have been given the opportunity to find out more about working in manufacturing and the career options available in Leeds.

More information about Leeds-based careers in manufacturing is available at the festival website:

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