This year’s intake of Preston’s College students are to once again benefit from a generous donation of engines, componentry and equipment from Leyland Trucks.
As an educational partner of the college, Leyland Trucks’ apprenticeship programme is oversubscribed every year. The donation of the prototype LF DAF Truck has been made to teach those studying Engineering and Automotive disciplines how to disassemble, then reassemble truck components that are recognised and used the world over.
It is hoped that as well as providing Leyland Trucks with qualified apprentices who are familiar with DAF products, the donation will also support the training of apprentices of other local engineering SMEs.
Mark Knight, head of school for Science, Engineering & Automotive Technologies at Preston’s College, said: “Leyland Trucks really flies the flag for the positives of the apprenticeship route. It shows an exceptional commitment to training and retaining talented young people, offering a range of roles to suit all learning types, covering hands-on roles on the production lines, through to varied professional careers.
“It should also be recognised for crafting excellent routes for female apprentices. Leyland Trucks’ work in this field is seeing the numbers of female entrants at the college rise steadily every year, which we’re thrilled to see.
“This second donation of one of its world-renowned trucks is incredibly generous, and we look forward to another exciting year working together to pave out fruitful futures for our apprentices.”
James Jepson, HR and training manager at Leyland Trucks, added: “Supplying components, expertise, and working trucks to the college not only benefits our own apprentices, but also those from other local employers studying a wide range of engineering and production-related courses. Through working closely with the college, we are able to help shape the careers of future engineers and designers.”
Leyland Trucks has previously donated a DAF CF to Preston’s College and sponsored the Electrical & Electronics area of its pioneering iSTEM Centre, which opened in 2015. It works with the college to provide a programme of apprenticeships, including those at degree-level, which are bespoke-built to Leyland Trucks’ workforce needs, both now and in the future.
To achieve this, the business has mapped its workforce demographics against production trends, outputs and average retention, to identify how many trainees will be needed in 2020 and onwards to bridge the gap between retirement and growth needs.
Students at Preston’s College take part in the Student Innovation Challenge, an annual project held between Leyland Trucks and Preston’s College where they solve a real-life industry problem with an innovative solution. Provided with the methodology, students are encouraged to use team working and communication to create a solution to the challenge before pitching their ideas to a team of judges. The latest winners of the competition were announced in June as team ‘Sida Design’.
James added: “Undertaking real-life projects enables students to put into practice the skills which they have learnt in college and apply them in the business world, thoroughly investigating an issue and developing innovative solutions. The benefit that both the students and ourselves gain from initiatives such as this are significant.”
Mark concluded: “There is still a negative perception around the word ‘apprenticeship’, stemming from parents who perhaps reflect on what were once negative practices in this way of teaching from decades ago. But today’s apprenticeships are very different, and both Preston’s College and Leyland Trucks invite parents to come and talk to us, to break down those barriers, anxieties and perceptions, if you have children who might be considering an apprenticeship pathway.”