Gowercroft Joinery apprentice, Toby Nightingale, has passed West Nottinghamshire College’s new Level 2 Woodworking Product Manufacturing Operative apprenticeship course with a distinction.
The course, which is now offered in addition to traditional bench joinery, is designed to give apprentices an excellent overview of modern manufacturing techniques such as the use of the latest CNC machinery to suit the needs of larger timber product manufacturers.
Having initially developed a passion for woodwork, helping to build timber pergolas for his father’s tearoom business, Toby, aged 20 from Ripley, was keen to develop his skills in a local Derbyshire company known for its high-end products and advanced manufacturing techniques.
The apprenticeship journey
In 2020 Toby started at Alfreton-based Gowercroft Joinery, an award-winning timber windows and doors manufacturer with a long track record of providing apprenticeships and career opportunities to young people.
During his two-year apprenticeship Toby has gained ‘on the job’ experience in practical aspects of window and door joinery from cutting the raw material to length, machining, assembly, and final fit up, as well as understanding of the company’s overall production processes.
In addition, one day a week at West Nottinghamshire College has offered further training on a wide range of machinery, tools and equipment, materials and components used in the production of engineered products as well as Health and Safety and general skills required for employment.
Passed with distinction!
Toby is the first person to have completed the Level 2 Wood Product Manufacturing Operative apprenticeship at West Nottinghamshire College, a path that many more students are about to follow.
The college’s programme area lead for apprenticeships in construction and building services, Paul Stringer said: “During his time on the course his attendance was brilliant, and he was always willing to learn new skills. His work was always of a good quality and his continual improvement throughout the course has helped him to improve his skills in the workplace.
“When you put all of this together, this is what has helped him to achieve his Distinction grade. After speaking to Toby regarding his grade, I feel this will give him the confidence to take his career to the next level within Gowercroft Joinery.”
Toby said. “It’s been great to get ‘on the job’ experience at Gowercroft, whilst at the same time getting broader practical and business skills at West Notts College – everyone has been really helpful in giving me a good start for my future career.”
Apprenticeships at Gowercroft
Gowercroft has a long track record of supporting apprentices, many of whom have gone on to permanent positions within the company.
In a normal year, the company takes on four new Wood Product Manufacturing Operatives and typically has six to eight shop floor apprentices, at any given time, equating to roughly 10% of the overall workforce.
West Nottinghamshire College has also been central to placing Business Administration apprentices at Gowercroft with some going one to occupy senior roles such as Purchasing Manager, Production Coordinator and Area Sales Manager.