Apprentice Flying High at Hornbill Engineering
Hornbill News

Katy Huggins, 28, is being heralded as a success story for both Hornbill Engineering and NPTC Group of Colleges. After moving to Neath Port Talbot from West Wales in 2011, Katy took the decision to improve her education and employment simultaneously. With a young daughter to care for, she applied for an apprenticeship at Hornbill that was facilitated by Pathways Training, the work-based learning team at NPTC Group of Colleges.

With the support and guidance from her employer Katy completed her apprenticeship ahead of schedule whilst also studying a GCSE in mathematics.

On completion of her apprenticeship, Katy progressed from Business Apprentice to Training Coordinator at the engineering site in Llandarcy, with responsibility for researching, booking and coordinating training for all 100+ Hornbill employees spread across South Wales, North Wales and England. Katy also assist’s with the company’s in-house marketing using her Art & Design background for Hornbill’s graphic design work.

Katy is currently looking to expand her skills by developing and delivering in-house training to upskill the existing workforce transitioning to new IT systems, having recently completed a BTEC level 3 in Educations and Training.

Talking about her time as an apprentice, Katy said:

“Studying and working at the same time was what I was looking for. I had the best of both worlds, enjoying the benefits of being a student, making great friends, gaining valuable experience in the workplace and looking after my daughter.

“Hornbill is a great employer, they gave me the flexibility I needed for my family and I am very grateful for that. The support for apprentices has been second to none.”

Established in 1989, Hornbill had the vision of providing first class engineering services. Twenty-six years on they can boast a £9 million turnover, over 165 staff and an exceptionally high client retention rate. This could only have been achieved with the experience and knowledge of Hornbill’s highly trained staff.

Hornbill have always recognised the importance of apprenticeship programmes to ensure the longevity of the company and the skills level within the industry. They have recruited 1-3 apprentices every year for the past 21 years. Each apprentice is personally mentored to ensure their continued development through the apprenticeship programme. The management team take an active role in the advancement of apprentices and have recently developed an in house apprenticeship programme to increase strength and depth.

They are pleased to boast to not having lost a single apprentice following completion in the last seven years. By 2020 Hornbill are committed to 10% of the workforce being ‘home-grown’ through the Hornbill Apprenticeship Programme.

Jess Phillips, the Business Development Manager at Hornbill, said:

“We have always recognised the importance of apprenticeship programmes to ensure the longevity of the company and the skills level within the industry. Katy was the company’s first business apprentice, as the company grows we will look NPTC College for further business admin apprentices.

The great thing about working with NPTC Group of Colleges and Pathways Training is the flexibility it allowed us and Katy.

Katy showed the drive and motivation we look for in an apprentice; since joining the company she has contributed to a number of change initiatives and innovations.”

In her time at Hornbill, Katy has also displayed a fantastic commitment to her professional development by completing a Level 3 ILM qualification in Leadership and Management in addition to the BTEC Level 3 in Education and Training.

In summing up, Katy added:

“None of this would have been possible without the apprenticeship scheme at NPTC Group of Colleges. It has been an amazing experience. I am grateful to Hornbill for everything they have done for me.”

Ian Jones, Head of Work Based Learning at NPTC Group, said:

“This is an excellent example of the benefits of the apprenticeship programme. We are delighted to see the progress Katy has made at Hornbill Engineering since completing her apprenticeship. It is obvious that Katy is a much valued member of staff and the responsibility she holds within the company reflects that. We would like to wish Katy the best of luck for the future.”

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