From education to employment


A North Yorkshire gritter manufacturer is continuing to spread the word of the value of apprenticeships (#NAW2022).

However, at the start of National Apprenticeship Week, the boss of Ripon-based Econ Engineering – which employs a workforce of 240 – says more needs to be done to prepare young adults for life beyond the classroom.

Since its launch in 1969, the family-owned and run business – which manufactures 85 per cent of the winter maintenance vehicles on the UK’s roads – has welcomed a continual string of apprenticeships to their team, learning their trade on the factory floor and at technical college.

The firm’s latest apprentices are 17-year-old Oliver Merrin, and 21-year-old Michael Urban, who are both welders, working under the supervision of Eddie Herron, who began his career at Econ as an apprentice, 45 years ago.

And whilst Michael has been with the company for three years and is nearing the end of his apprenticeship, Oliver is just three months into his training programme.

Econ Engineering Managing Director Jonathan Lupton said:

“Since day one, Econ Engineering has employed apprentices, and I’m delighted to say many of them have progressed their careers with us and remain with us today.

“On leaving school at 16, I too became an Econ apprentice, working my way across the various divisions and learning from those who knew their jobs, and the business, inside out.

“Not everyone wants to go to university, and for those who don’t, apprenticeships offer them an opportunity to learn and earn at the same time. However, before stepping foot in the workplace, they need to be moulded for life after school.

“In recent years, some of the school leavers that have come through our doors have been totally unprepared for the rigours of the working life. And speaking to colleagues in other businesses this isn’t unique to us.

“We are lucky with both Michael and Oliver. They have the right work ethic and under Eddie’s supervision, will become masters of their trade.

“In my view, businesses need to be working in partnership with local schools and colleges to help shape and prepare our future workforce, one that is better skilled, and one that can help take our great manufacturing heritage to the next level.”

Further information about Econ Engineering is available from its website,

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