Reaping the rewards

A successful St Helens-based company is reaping the rewards of hiring generations of St Helens College apprentices.

Airtec Filtration, a specialist dust and fume extraction company, has developed, nurtured and trained three generations of apprenticeships with the help of St Helens College.

The latest Airtec Filtration apprentice is 17-year-old Sean Burke, a fabrication and welding apprentice.

The ex Maricourt High School pupil joined the St Helens College apprenticeship programme in hopes of building a successful career in fabrication and welding.

Sean said: “After leaving school I enrolled at Southport College to study art and design and after a few months I decided it wasn’t for me and enrolled on St Helens College’s apprenticeship scheme.

“An apprenticeship provided me with career prospects as well as a wage and training.

“Although an apprenticeship is far more challenging it’s extremely rewarding. I can see that I am already building the skills, knowledge and experience needed to continue a career in the industry.

“The scheme has provided me with an excellent opportunity and it’s fantastic to be working with former college apprentices – I have a great support network at the college and the company.”

On hand to mentor and provide Sean with expert advice and guidance is the company’s contract manager, Karl Rixon.
A former St Helens College apprentice himself, Karl, believes apprenticeships are the way forward as they provide a skilled workforce as well as fresh ideas and enthusiasm in the workplace.

Karl who completed his apprenticeship in 1990 said: “Apprentices bring a spark to the organisation, as well as enthusiasm, loyalty and the desire for continual progression. Over the years I have welcomed and line managed some very successful apprentices.

“It is important that as a company we continue to provide the next generation with the skills, knowledge and confidence to build a successful career and to continue company growth.”

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