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Yorkshire Precision Engineering creates opportunities for apprentices during Covid-19 pandemic

Yorkshire Precision Engineering Ltd (YPEL) is a UK leading subcontract CNC machining company, specialising in the supply and manufacture of high quality turned parts for a wide range of industries.

Last year, the family-run engineering firm based in Keighley, transformed its production capabilities to produce parts for the national ventilator challenge.

Founded in 2001 by Michael and Lynda Laybourne, the company was approached by Rolls Royce to work for the government’s ventilator manufacturing coalition in March

The company has been in partnership with Keighley College since 2018 and have taken on several apprentices. 

Last year, two level 3 advanced engineering apprentices from the college assisted in the production of the ventilator components. Both apprentices supported the production of parts by setting tooling and monitoring performance and consistency.

Within a week of getting the go-ahead in early April, it had produced 8,000 brass components.

We spoke to Lynda Laybourne about the benefits of taking on apprentices and how the company has adapted during the coronavirus pandemic.

How has taking on an apprentice helped your company and what would you say are the benefits? 

Taking on apprentices has given us the opportunity to train and nurture them in the way we work and how we produce quality products.The apprentices we have taken on are straight out of school and get to learn everything from the ground up.

How many apprentices do you currently have?

We currently have two on board and another two completing their first full year at Keighley College.We would definitely recommend an apprentice.

What would you say to another business (in your sector) looking to secure an apprentice?  

Make sure you get the right personality to complement your business, so that they fit in,feel welcome and happy in the workplace. Apprentices allow growth in the company, especially after they have completed a full year of training at college. They arrive ready and eager to show what they have learnt.

What are some of your latest working practices that you have adopted and that are working well for the company as a result of the pandemic?​   

In April and May 2020 we took part in the Ventilator Challenge. Working with Roll Royce, we realised early on that 2020 would be like no other year – we certainly experienced some challenges. 

We took a long term approach to the Covid-19 crisis and when a long standing customer, Wetherby Engineers contacted us with a view to acquiring all their assets and YPEL to produce their components, we stepped up to the challenge. With the assistance of the government CBILS loan scheme, in December 2020 we leased a second site in Acre Park, Keighley, employed all the remaining staff at Wetherby Engineers and purchased three New HAAS machines, along with other ancillary equipment.

Our two apprentices, currently full time at Keighley, will be joining us later this year on day release. They will be split between our two sites in Keighley. With the premises expansion we are ready for the economy to grow once again.– The future certainly looks bright for YPEL.

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Keighley College

Bradford Road, Keighley
West Yorkshire BD21 4HQ United Kingdom

Tel: Please contact us via email on enquiries@keighleycollege.ac.uk during the National Lockdown (Jan 2021)
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