Apprentices help Xograph Healthcare fulfil ambition for growth
Stonehouse-based medical equipment company, Xograph Healthcare, believes that investing in apprenticeship training will help it achieve its ambition for growth, and says its GC apprentice has “made a huge difference” to the business.
23-year-old Steven Cant, from Stonehouse, is an Apprentice Production/Development Engineer at Xograph, alongside studying for his HNC in Mechanical Engineering at Gloucestershire College’s Gloucester Campus.
Xograph is the leading independent medical equipment supplier to the UK and Ireland, with a 47-year track record in providing innovative medical imaging technology and services to hospitals, diagnostic centres and medical services.
It believes that to fulfil its ambitions for growth, it must invest in training and currently employs three apprentices from Gloucestershire College to help achieve that goal: Steven and two Apprentice X-Ray Field Service Engineers, who are studying for their NVQ Level 3 qualifications in Electrical Engineering.
Neil Cant, Development Manager, said: “Trying to recruit to fulfil key engineering positions within the medical device design and development environment locally is near impossible, so taking the apprentice route allows us to tailor key skills and disciplines relevant to this industry. As the apprentice develops, the opportunities develop to specialise in key areas of our business practice. We believe that to fulfil out ambitions for growth, investing in training for skills will enable us to meet that goal.
“Steven has made a huge difference to the business since starting his apprenticeship; bringing new skills to the Xograph table such as 3D Solid Works modeling, which has helped with the design of new medical devices that will shortly enter the global markets. He is also involved in a number of projects, including one working with Imperial College London on a steerable catheter for the purpose of treating malignant tumors in the brain.”
Xograph has seen a number of benefits in recruiting apprentices through the College, Neil explains: “The ability to tap into the Gloucestershire College resource of equipment, up-to-date technology and practices, and most of all the highly skilled lecturers, have helped Steven potentially grow into a highly qualified and skilled engineer.
“An apprenticeship allows the employer to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the apprentice during the progression of their coursework, their attitude and ability to focus in an environment other than the workplace. The routine assessments conducted in the workplace are critical tools for this assessment and give me the information required to formulate daily duties with minimal supervision and or additional training in parallel with their coursework.”
Steven started his career as a trainee process engineer at Xograph, setting plastic processing machines. His employer wanted to develop and expand the design and development side of their business portfolio, so encouraged Steven to take up an apprenticeship to give him the skills and qualifications to help them do this.
Steven says his apprenticeship gave him direction, allowing him to train for engineering career whilst earning at the same time. His day-to-day duties include tooling design; liaising with toolmakers and material suppliers; assisting production with process tooling and equipment; and designing and formulating product artwork.
He said: “My apprenticeship has given me so much confidence; I am very happy to contribute to discussions both at college and during development meetings at work. I have gained and enjoyed the use of 3D drawing and feel this is the path I wish to follow for my future career.”
While Xograph chose Gloucestershire College as its training provider due to its convenient location and “immense amount of resource”, Steven has particularly benefitted from the support he receives from his tutors, which enable him to relate his course studies with his duties at work.
Steven would recommend an apprenticeship to other young people who might not know what route they want to take, and said: “I have found my experience so far rewarding due to developing new skills and learning techniques used in the engineering sector, which would not normally be accessible in the workplace.”
Gloucestershire College is the headline sponsor for the Apprentice 1000 campaign and advertises all live apprenticeship vacancies online at www.gloscol.ac.uk/apprenticeshipvacancies
If you’re an employer looking to build a better workforce through apprenticeships, visit www.gc-apprenticeships.co.uk for a step-by-step guide, or call the dedicated GC Business Hub on 01452 563403.