Employer case study: Tomcat - Creating engineers of the future
Over more than two decades, Tomcat has innovated and engineered pioneering solutions to help children and adults with learning or sensory impairments to cycle. The company’s trikes provide occupational and lifestyle aids that remove barriers for people with disabilities to enjoy and safely explore the world outside, no matter what their challenges.
Tomcat’s ground-breaking inventions and their commitment to changing the world of special needs cycling has been recognized in 2013 and in 2021 by The Queen’s Awards that are given to UK businesses for outstanding achievements.
Gloucestershire College is proud to be Tomcat’s Engineering Apprenticeship training provider. We caught up with Bob Griffin, founder, and Managing Director at Tomcat to learn more about the company’s thinking behind recruiting and training Tomcat apprentices, and the qualities the company is looking for in an individual applying for an apprenticeship program.
Bob, please tell us why Tomcat chooses to recruit apprentices and what role they have within your organization?
We hire apprentices to create engineers of the future. Our apprentices are expected to gain knowledge of all aspects of the business from practical skills such as machining, fitting, welding, etc, to technical and administrative skills such as technical admin, (drawings, work orders, etc, stock management, health and safety, purchasing, customer service, assessment, marketing and sales.
There are career progression paths available for our apprentices – the better ones have gone on to being managers as they have the in-depth knowledge and understanding of the business.
What qualities do you look for in an apprentice?
Our company has a strong reputation within local communities and when we hire an apprentice, we look for enthusiasm for engineering and learning ability in the first place - there is a lot to learn and master. We also look for other soft skills including confidence, responsibility, honesty, flair, and ambition.
What advice can you give to aspiring apprentices?
Take nothing you see and touch for granted as that leads to mediocrity. If designed by man, every line on the drawing serves a purpose and if you can use logic and reason to understand that purpose – no matter how obscure that might be - you will understand the designer’s intentions and thus the engineering art you hold in your hand.
What advice can you give to other Gloucestershire businesses thinking to recruit apprentices?
Take your time to find the right person for your business. Vocational and artisan training talent pool might be smaller compared to talent pools at universities, but a master’s degree in philosophy will rarely create new jobs and new industries - dirty hands, essential trades, vocational training, and ambition, just might.
If your company is looking to upskills, re-train your employees or recruit an apprentice, get in touch with our Employer Training & Apprenticeships team to discuss your training needs and to find out more about Engineering and other programmes available for your business.
Call 01452 536400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org