Siemens is opening the first Junior Factory for apprentices at its award winning facility in Congleton, launching during the Government’s flagship ‘Tomorrows Engineers Week’.  The facility was opened by UK and Ireland Chief Executive Roland Aurich on the 7th of November and will act as a ‘small factory within a factory’ run by a mixture of commercial and technical apprentices aged 16 to 21.

The apprentices will take on key leadership roles and will be responsible for the full breadth of the factory’s progress. The initiative will be open to all apprentices and graduates as part of Siemens’ dedicated plans to train young people not just in the critical field of engineering but also in real business management.

The Junior Factory will manufacture a sub-assembly for supply into production, which were previously imported and will represent a re-shoring of domestic manufacturing. The team will be responsible for sourcing and supply chain management, production of sub-assemblies, quality management, budgeting and transfer pricing alongside performance management.

Roland Aurich, CEO of Siemens UK and Ireland said: “This is a really innovative project, and the aims are very clear – let’s train up our young apprentices for the long term challenges they will face in their careers whilst fostering a culture of innovation, autonomy and crucially – entrepreneurship. We need to make a bold statement in Siemens and across industry – be an engineering apprentice and you can go from the shop floor to the top floor and schemes like this help young people understand how an engineering apprenticeship can lead to a rewarding career.”

Siemens has appointed a head of the Junior Factory and the team has written a business case about how they see the factory working, which was presented to the senior management board earlier in the year. Initially the Junior Factory will be responsible for the complete supply chain for assembly of fans for use within Siemens G120C drives and the team will have complete ownership for the value chain: planning, sourcing, assembly and delivery of finished product to the line.

Richard Lawton an apprentice who is acting as the head of the Junior Factory said: “I never thought that as part of an apprenticeship I would be given the opportunity to take on this level of responsibility – not just training and learning but actually running the facility as a business. I am really looking forward to working with the team members and making the project a success over the coming year, and learning about how running a full assembly line works in practice.”

The apprentices will also be responsible for resourcing the factory and ensuring that customer demands are fulfilled in the most cost effective way. Appropriate quality checks should be implemented within the process to ensure that “quality” products are delivered. The team will also be responsible for the creation of an annual budget for the factory. This will include a presentation to the senior management team for approval of the costs and a productivity challenge will be given to the Junior Factory on an annual basis.

Mathew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “This ground-breaking project is a great opportunity for tomorrow’s engineers to get the training and experience they need to establish a successful career. The Junior Factory demonstrates the great contribution apprentices can make to businesses and is a fantastic example of how we can innovate to plug skills gaps and help the UK get ahead in the global race.”