A top apprentice at Europe’s biggest trailer maker is a chip of the old block.
Welder Nathaniel Edwards, 22, is the first graduate of a new apprenticeship scheme at Ifor Williams Trailers to gain an Extended Diploma.
His achievement was a particular source of pride for Dave Roberts, his mentor and trainer from Coleg Cambria, because he originally served his time with Nathaniel’s grandfather.
He is one of six apprentices at Ifor Williams Trailers who have factories in Corwen, Cynwyd and Deeside.
Nathaniel, from Rhos, near Wrexham, said: “This is my fourth year at Ifor Williams Trailers, I pretty much came here straight from school and it was my first full time job
“It’s a great place to work and I’ve done the fabrication and welding course which has also involved going on day release to Coleg Cambria.
“I’m very proud that I’m the first apprentice to gain an Extended Diploma and I’m proud to work for such a successful company, particularly when I see the trailers on the road.
“I think that’s a horse box or flatbed and my number is on that and I’ve had a part in making that.”
Dave Roberts, from Coleg Cambria, said: “The apprentices start on a Level 2 Foundation Apprenticeship Course which takes two years and they can move on to a Level 3 Extended Diploma.
“Not only does it give the apprentices a qualification which is recognised world-wide but it gives them an opportunity to further develop their skills and they can move on to HND or HNC within the company and within engineering.
“Nathaniel is the first one at Ifor Williams Trailers to complete a Level 3 Extended Diploma in fabrication and welding.
“I actually served my time as a pipe fitter with his grandfather, Cedric Parry, at Air Products in Acrefair, so it’s come full circle. It’s strange to think I’m training his grandson.”
Following in Nathaniel’s footsteps is fellow apprentice Adrian Fuchs,21, from Wrexham, who said: “I’m very pleased to work for a market leading company. It’s good to have the logo on the overalls.
“I’m very proud that I’ve been accepted on the apprenticeship scheme and I’m looking forward to being qualified.”
Ex-soldier Vincent Freeman, 31, from Wrexham, was equally pleased to be recruited 18 months ago.
He said: “I left the army and did a few meaningless jobs and thought I’d get re-educated. I went to college and came here from there. It’s good quality training.”
Quality controller Emrys Vaughan, the apprentice mentor at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “I’ve been given the task of bringing along these apprentices, making sure that they do their homework and that they gain the necessary skills on the factory floor.
“Nathaniel has blazed a trail and he’s now an excellent welder – and we have another five apprentices in the pipeline.
“I’m very proud of these apprentices They are the lifeblood of the company because we have to bring so many people in from out of the area because we’re in a rural area and lots of people don’t have that sort of interest these days of becoming a craft apprentice.
“I’m very proud of these lads because of all the hard work they are putting in.
“It’s important to have a skilled workforce because we are the market leader in the trailer world.
“These apprentices are our future and they will become the backbone of this company.
“Eventually, I hope that these people will become team leaders or managers and then they can pass on their skills to apprentices that’ll come along in the future.”