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One of the UK’s leading specialists in automation and control is adding its support to the World Skills Show this weekend in a bid to inspire more young people into engineering.
PP Control & Automation, which works with 14 of the world’s largest machine builders, has teamed up with Siemens and Festo to develop the ‘electrical controls challenge’ for the four-day event that started in Birmingham on Thursday.
Six teams of two employees will be asked to assemble, configure and programme a terminal box, replicating an actual manufacturing process that will have to meet high quality standards and a set lead time.
Apprentices, work trainees, university students and graduates will make up the participants and all of them will be judged on six key areas, including visual appearance, measurements, cable standards and functionality.
Contestants get to grips with the challenge at the Skills Show
Scott Ward, Continuous Improvement and Technical Trainer at PP Control & Automation, explained: “We are delighted to be part of the World Skills Show and helping to highlight training opportunities in manufacturing to young learners.
“It’s a great platform for young people to come and see how much our sector has to offer and the importance of continually developing your skills in the pursuit of world class performance. We have to make sure that as a country we’re not just operating at ‘good enough’ and, by promoting high standards at an early age, we’ll engender a culture of trying to be your very best.”
Based in a 40,000 sq ft facility in the West Midlands, PP Control & Automation has become one of the world’s largest and most respected suppliers of electrical control systems, cable harnesses and sub-contract manufacturing solutions.
It has recently completed a £1m extension to its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, creating an additional 1000 sq metres of production space to facilitate growth in new technology markets and satisfy interest from a wider international customer base.
Contestants take on the wiring stage of Project 1
The company will be sending a 5-strong team to the World Skills Show at the NEC, with Scott also joined by young leaders Ashley James and Lee Matthews, who will be able to gain valuable experience of training, assessing and mentoring others.
“We employ just over 200 people and each member of staff has their own development plan, with access to up to 200 hours of training every year,” added Philip Newell, Training & Continuous Improvement Manager at PP Control & Automation.
“Our staff are encouraged to continually improve and to offer their own suggestions for their development. This means we have a strong retention rate and an excellent track record of bringing apprentices and graduates into the business and keeping them!
“2018 will signal the next stage of our expansion and we are definitely looking for new talent. We may even find our next MD at the World Skills Show.”
Teams are close to completion on the installation stage
Siemens’ Martin Brown concluded: “PP Control & Automation were asked to support with World Skills in creating standards and providing training for the assembly phase of the challenge. Having this support has helped provide a clarity of the high quality standard that is expected within the assembly phase of the challenge and within manufacturing as a whole.”