A tool and die manufacturer has developed an international reputation for the exceptional skills of its award-winning apprentices who have helped improve the company’s manufacturing process.
Apprentices employed by FSG Tool and Die, based in Llantrisant, excel in national and international competitions.
Max James was named Engineering Apprentice of the Year in Wales in 2021 and Kodie Higgins was runner-up Engineering Apprentice: Rising Star in Wales at Make UK 2021 and went on to win a gold medal in the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Milling category at Skills Competition Wales.
Kodie was joined by Sion Murray and Will Holmes at the 2021 WorldSkills UK final, where Sion was a gold medallist.
In recognition of its commitment to apprentices, FSG Tool and Die have been shortlisted for the Small and Medium Employer of the Year Award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2022. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 10.
The awards highlight the outstanding achievements, during unprecedented times, of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.
Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor for the third year is Openreach.
A long-standing tradition of taking on apprentices
FSG Tool and Die has a workforce exceeding 90, including 12 apprentices who are working towards Apprenticeships up to degree level in Mechanical Engineering, delivered by training provider TSW Training and the University of Wales Trinity St David in Swansea.
Offering development and engineering solutions to customers worldwide, the company exports more than half of its products.
The company’s apprentices have helped to streamline its manufacturing process, thereby improving efficiency by six per cent. They have also invented smaller electric car batteries for a customer and are trialling sustainable manufacturing materials for a greener future.
Beginning its apprenticeship programme in 1969, FSG Tool and Die takes on five apprentices annually and they tend to stay with the company for a long time, some progressing to the senior leadership team.
The company works closely with local schools and colleges to promote manufacturing and runs a ‘Girls in Engineering’ scheme to recruit more female employees.
“Our apprenticeship programme has become the benchmark for many companies in the industry,” said Steve Cope, FSG Tool and Die’s lean/operational excellence leader and apprentice co-ordinator.
“Our apprentices are key to our day-to-day operations in the business and are a major contributor to our success. The quality of the work they produce maintains our excellent reputation and we have a track record of retaining staff for years, sometimes even a lifetime.”
A spokesperson for TSW Training, said: “FSG apprentices carve out meaningful careers, creating work experience which spans decades and generations of families. That approach has established FSG as an employer for the community, but its apprentices have a national and international reputation for exceptional skills, resilience, determination and quality.”
An investment for the future
Congratulating FSG Tool and Die and all the other shortlisted finalists, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic.
“They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.
“As part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government will be investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government.
“We want to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives. The investment will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.”