24 February, 2024

Apprenticeship programmes more than just a short-term investment for IMH

06 August, 2021

Industrial and Marine Hydraulics (IMH), based in Middlesbrough UK, has grown from a home-based business founded in 1983 to a leading global player in hydraulic engineering. The company’s founder, Paul Griffiths, established the IMH apprenticeship scheme in 1995 as an integral part of the company’s philosophy to train and retain home grown talent.

Throughout the years the company has continued to invest in its apprenticeship programme which has led it to receive the National Skills Academy Award for Long Term Contribution to Apprenticeships in 2011. Then, in 2019 Paul Griffiths was awarded an MBE for Services to Engineering Skills and Apprenticeships in Teesside in the New Year’s Honours.

IMH recruits apprentice mechanical fitters, pipe fitters and welders, often from local training colleges. This has included James Griffiths, son of Paul Griffiths, who began his time with the company as an apprentice in 2002 and worked in a number of roles before taking over as managing director in 2019.

Key company feature

James Griffiths, managing director of IMH, comments: “The IMH apprenticeship programme is a key company feature and provides benefits across the whole business. From the young people we recruit, train andmentor right through to the rest of the IMH team, as they get the opportunity to impart their knowledge and feel proud when our apprentices qualify.

“We look for apprentices who have a genuine interest in engineering that we can then foster and develop through our rigorous training programme, which is delivered and assessed in addition to thnational apprenticeship framework / NVQs. IMH has a dedicated technical trainer who delivers practical and theoretical training and conducts assessments. Its apprentices also have the opportunity to attend external training.

“For us, our apprenticeship programme is about training home grown talent tocompete on a world stage. We operate throughout the North East, nationally and internationally. And, although international travel hasn’t been able to take place recently - due to Covid-19 restrictions – we have still been able to provide our apprentices with real-life experiences.”

Major project

James continues: “One of our biggest recent projects was the Boston Barrier in Lincolnshire, where our mechanical engineering apprentice, Hugo Abrol, was able to go down and support the testing phase of the barrier. We had designed, manufactured and installed a HPU and two emergency HPUs to power the barrier.

“Luke Morris, who started his apprenticeship at the same time as Hugo was also able to visit the Boston Barrier. As a trainee pipefitter he was involved in more than 800m of pipework includingsome specialist and intricate welding.

“Hugo and Luke have less than 18 months left of their four years training and I’m excited to see how they progress. As for us, it’s not just about the years training they get at IMH it’s about building them up and really getting them ready for work. And we hope that’s with us!

“In fact, a large proportion of our workforce started their careers as an IMH apprentice which we’re really proud of. The IMH team is highly trained with specialist hydraulic knowledge and so it’s great that we can share that knowledge with future engineers. Even once a trainee completes their apprenticeship, we continue training and investment in progressing their careers at our purposebuilt training facility at our Middlesbrough headquarters.

“In our experience, apprenticeship programmes shouldn’t be looked at as a short-term investment, yes some businesses may qualify for government funding through the appointment of apprentices but the value a business receives and what you’re able to provide back to that apprentice is long-term and often becomes a life-long successful career.”

Sustained employment

Government research from the ‘Learners and Apprentices Survey 2018’ echoes the experience of IMH, finding 90% of apprentices surveyed were still in employment after completing their training, with many still working for their apprenticeship employer.

IMH states that it will continue to look at the recruitment of future apprentices as the business continues to grow.




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