Our commitment to tomorrow’s rail talent

9th December, 2021

At CWE, we believe that investing in the engineering talent of tomorrow is crucial to the success of every business that supports the rail industry  – and to the future of the industry as a whole. We also believe that it’s our duty as a local employer to provide real and valuable opportunities to young people who want to pursue a career in rail.

We’re fulfilling this duty in several different ways: by working closely with Sheffield University’s AMRC to increase employment opportunities for talented students, by making plans with Doncaster Chambers to improve access to work experience for pupils at local schools, and by making a commitment to providing two new apprenticeship positions each year.

The CWE senior management team all joined the industry as apprenticeships, so we’re true believers in the importance of providing routes into rail careers that begin with practical, hands-on training.

The rising stars of CWE

Our apprenticeship scheme is one of our proudest achievements. It has recently provided us with two incredible young people, who we believe will be key to the future of CWE. If you know anyone who is considering a career in rail, perhaps their words will provide some inspiration.

Meet Reece Wilson, Apprentice at CWE and November 2021’s Employee of the Month

Q.     Did you know what you wanted to be when you left school?

I left school at 16 and had no idea what I wanted to do next. I just knew it needed to be something ‘hands-on’ and that I wanted a challenge, not a repetitive office job. I eventually decided to go to sixth form and do A-Levels. It really wasn’t for me – although it gave me a chance to work with lathes, which I really enjoyed. This is what led me to go down the engineering path, and machining in particular.

Q.     What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting an industrial or engineering apprenticeship?

If it is something you enjoy, something you are intrigued by, GO FOR IT. Everyone feels nervous making decisions that will influence the rest of your life, but the best part about it is that there are so many different opportunities available: manual to CNC, turning to milling. Find your favourite and jump in, get working hard on it. Learn the basics, then strive to be better.

Q.     What do you like about working in the rail industry?

The challenges that I face on a daily basis; no job is ever simple. There is always so much to think about, like the different sizings of parts and the complexity of some systems. Every job you do, no matter how small it seems, plays a massive role overall.

Q.     What do you like about working at CWE?

The best things about working at CWE are the opportunities, the people and the varied workload. When I first joined CWE, everyone was so welcoming. They understand your learning process and really care about developing you. Every member of the team I’ve worked with has been eager to pass on their knowledge to you and help you progress faster; to become the next them or better. It’s a group of genuine people who can have a joke together, which always makes the working day enjoyable.

I regularly get asked about different courses that I could go on, all to help develop me as a machinist, an engineer, a future manager. I am always pushed to my limit daily on my knowledge, finding ways to improve no matter how small. No two days are the same and I love that.

“Reece is a team player and has the respect of his peers on the shopfloor, as well as the senior management team. We feel that Reece is key to the future of CWE. He displays and promotes the values of CWE, always ensuring work is undertaken in line with customer requirements and to exceptional standards of quality, and interacting with customers in a way that promotes CWE at every opportunity.”

Colin Jaques, Operations Manager at CWE

Meet Adrian Salatowski, Apprentice at CWE and October 2021’s Employee of the Month

Q.     Did you know what you wanted to be when you left school?

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after school. I applied for University because it seemed like the obvious next step, but I quickly realised that it was a mistake and I was only doing it to please everyone else. Coming back to education a few years later, with some experience under my belt and a proper understanding of where I want the journey to take me feels much better.

Q.     What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting an industrial or engineering apprenticeship?

Engineering provides such a broad spectrum of possibilities, everyone can find something that interests them. It’s a great choice and one that felt like second nature to me, as I have always been surrounded by people working as engineers or technicians. Working alongside them helped me to develop not only the basic manual skill set I needed but also problem solving skills and an eye for detail. The main advice I would give to anyone who wants a career in this field is to start practicing early, don’t turn down any opportunities to develop yourself and make sure you feel passionate about the path you choose.

Q.     What do you like about working in the rail industry?

I really enjoy the unpredictability and complexity of the problems we come across and the range of challenges we face. In the rail industry, every day and every task is different. We have to approach each one individually to make sure we provide the best service to our customers.

Q.     What do you like about working at CWE?

One thing I truly value about the CWE team is the level of support I receive – not only at a professional level but a personal level too. Every member of the team is someone I can trust and can go to with any problem I come across.

I also love the fact that my hard work and commitment is consistently recognised by the management team, who push my development forward and challenge me to keep improving my skills.

“Due to the talent and effort apparent from the time he joined CWE, Adrian was quickly earmarked for development. He was promoted to quality inspector in 2020 and more recently has been promoted to production engineer, with responsibility for launching our new buffer cell process. We sponsored Adrian through his BEng degree in manufacturing technologies, which he recently completed. He has also been nominated for the AMRC Apprentice of the Year and Rising Star awards. He’s central to the future of CWE and a great example of what can be achieved with hard work and enthusiasm.”

Colin Jaques, Operations Manager at CWE

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