Encore Packaging Solutions and its sister group Encore Envelopes have welcomed a group of apprentices as they take their first steps into a career in engineering.
16-year-old Joe Tighe and Dylan Pearson, and Sean English, 17, joined the company this month on a general engineering apprenticeship and will receive hands-on training on the equipment used by Encore within the envelope and packaging manufacturing process.
Encore manufactures solid board and corrugated boxes, plain and printed up to five colors litho, as well as direct mail packaging, products suited for e-commerce and gift bag options. It also offers customers a bespoke production service, designing and manufacturing any packaging products to suit their needs.
Encore Envelopes, the largest privately-owned printed envelope manufacturer in the UK, and Encore Packaging Solutions, produce nearly four billion of the 15 billion envelopes and packages delivered by Royal Mail postal service each year.
The technology required to make these products is bespoke, and the skills required to keep them running are specialist. Each year for the last 12 years, the companies have taken on at least two engineering apprentices who receive hands-on training on the equipment used within the envelope and packaging manufacturing process.
Encore works with TDR Training which provides the company with a shortlist of applicants who are then invited for interview.
David Cooper, Encore’s production director, said: ‘We see apprentices as the future of our business. Although they on a general engineering apprenticeship, we have a bias to running packaging machines and so we train them to meet our specific requirements and to our high standards.
‘They work in each of our processing departments for four weeks, including engineering, platemaking, ink formulation and studio, which helps them further understand our business.’
Cooper added: ‘Our machines are extremely specific, we can’t get people “off the shelf’” to run them. The majority of our apprentices are from the local area and most will stay with us after they finish their term. We see this as a partnership which not only increases skills within our community, but also ensures we can expand our business and employ more people locally.
‘We’re continuing to invest in new equipment to ensure our plant remains at the peak of its efficiency, and our apprentices remain at the core of this development program. They will also work with our experienced engineers to develop new technologies to extend our product range in line with customer demand.
‘Our success rate of keeping apprentices on after they have completed their term is very high, and those that have left have gone to extremely good jobs after we were able to provide them with first class training. Most of our senior management joined Encore at a young age and have worked their way through the ranks; the understanding they have of the business is invaluable.
‘We value our staff and want them to stay with Encore throughout their professional life – in the last four years alone we’ve had 17 people celebrate their 20 years with us, and we expect more over the next few years.’
Pictured (from left): Sean English, Joe Tighe and Dylan Pearson