Recently, here at Kirkstall Precision Engineering we have had two of our apprentices nominated for the Leeds Manufacturing Festival awards. One of the apprentices, Kalum Downey, won the Future Manufacturing Leader Award. Cameron Pinder was another apprentice who was nominated for the Apprentice of the Year award and won second place.
Kalum has been an outstanding member of the CNC turning team at Kirkstall Precision over the last 12 months. He has shown significant improvements in his skills as an operator and engineer. He is dependable, and his work consistently meets the highest expectations.
One of his most remarkable qualities is his leadership skills. During the first few weeks of a new team member’s arrival, Kalum stepped up to guide and support them, demonstrating clear leadership qualities that helped the new team member and earned respect from his colleagues.
Kalum also showed his ability to take on responsibilities when he headed the department during the holiday period while the team leader was away. He confidently led the team and communicated with his peers clearly and concisely.
Kalum expressed his joy at winning the E3R Future Manufacturing Leader award and thanked those who submitted his nomination, supervisor James Seed, and previous supervisor Ashley Inman for their support.
He hopes that his win will encourage existing and future apprentices to know that they are capable of achieving the same.
Speaking about his win, Kallum said:
“I am incredibly honoured to have won the Apprentice of the Year award. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my training, as well as the support and guidance I’ve received from my colleagues and mentors. However, I also recognise that there’s still so much to learn in the manufacturing sector, especially with the exciting possibilities that robotics and automation bring. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given so far, and I look forward to continuing to grow and develop my skills in the future.”
Kirkstall Precision’s apprenticeship academy has provided Kalum and Cameron with an opportunity to develop their skills and progress in their careers.
Cameron has also had a positive experience as an apprentice, as he has been able to learn new skills and work with new equipment. Cameron appreciates the investment that Kirkstall Precision has made in their apprentices and the opportunity to learn from a new generation of people.
Speaking about coming second, Cameron Pinder said:
“Coming second in the apprentice of the year competition was definitely a learning experience for me. It’s energising to know that there’s still so much to learn about the manufacturing sector and the possibilities that robotics bring in the future. I see this as a great opportunity to push myself even further and aim for first place in the future. It’s not about winning, but rather about the journey and the knowledge gained along the way. I’m excited to continue to grow and develop my skills, and I know that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.”
The award wins and recognition received over the past two years are a testament to all the hard work put in by our leadership team in trying to close the skills gap in UK manufacturing.
Our commitment to growing our own talent from the amazing talent pool pushed out by the likes of UTC Leeds, with the help of Leeds City College, has been a crucial factor in our success.
It’s not just about providing apprenticeships, but it’s also about investing in their development and creating a culture of continuous learning. We are grateful for the opportunities to develop our apprentices and see them excel in their careers.
Linus Gallagher, who came runner-up in 2022 for the Apprentice of the Year award, commented that:
“I am incredibly happy for Kalum and Cameron for their achievement in winning the apprentice of the year award. It is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication that they have put in, and it’s amazing to see them recognized for it. This award also highlights the efforts of the management team in closing the skills gap and investing in the development of their apprentices. It’s great to see the company fostering a culture of learning and growth, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of it as well.”
While the award wins are a great achievement, we also recognise that there is still much to learn and achieve in the rapidly changing landscape of manufacturing, particularly with the rise of robotics and automation.
We will continue to invest in our people and strive for excellence in everything we do. This thought being echoed by Kirstall’s MD, Iqbal Bahia, who commented that:
“As the Managing Director of Kirkstall, I’m really proud of the achievements of our apprentices and the dedication of their managers, mentors, and tutors. Winning these awards is a great recognition of the hard work that has gone into training and developing our own talent pool, and it’s a testament to the success of our efforts to close the skills gap in UK manufacturing.
However, while these award wins are a cause for celebration, we also recognise that there is still much to learn and achieve in the rapidly changing landscape of manufacturing, particularly with the rise of robotics and automation. We remain committed to investing in the development of our people and staying ahead of the curve to ensure that we continue to be leaders in our industry.”