ONE of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment, UK-based JCB, said its apprentice scheme is a great way for anyone with an interest in machinery to acquire skills across a wide range of disciplines while earning a salary.

It has a number of apprenticeships available across engineering, manufacturing and business, and given JCB’s pedigree for innovation, pushing boundaries and challenging the norm, there are diverse opportunities within a business famous for its ‘can do’ spirit.

There are also unique experiences to be had when occasional special projects are underway – as in 2018 when a group of apprentices came together to build a complete machine to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the JCB’s Loadall telescopic handler and raise money for charitable donations.

For six months, the young employees worked in different JCB factories and departments to experience manufacturing the axles, gearbox, engine, hydraulics and cab, and choosing the special colour scheme before the Loadall was assembled at the company’s world headquarters in Staffordshire.

Depending upon the level and chosen discipline, a JCB apprenticeship takes between 1½ and five years to complete. In addition to a structured learning programme, there’s an attractive full-time salary and 33 days of annual holiday, discounted healthcare, sports facilities, a pension scheme. JCB can also offer relocation support for those over 18 years old and there are international opportunities.

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Working career

for Poppy

Poppy Burrough was born into a world of farming and agricultural engineering at dealership level, but changed her plans to attend a university with mechanisation or agricultural engineering course, when she discovered that the sixth form environment studying for AS Levels did not suit her.

Instead, she headed to Kingston Maurward College, in Dorset, to study agriculture and then approached machinery dealerships and tractor manufacturers to sound out apprenticeship opportunities.

“Within a week of talking to JCB, they had arranged an interview and assessment at the world HQ in Staffordshire, and the following day I was offered a job in JCB Landpower, working on the Fastrac,” said Poppy.

Since starting, she has been involved in a number of placements – agricultural sales and marketing, experimental products, test and development, quality and design; and she has also spent time in a dealership working with the sales and engineering teams.

“My day-to-day work varies massively, I can be out in the field with the JCB sales engineers demonstrating Fastracs to potential customers, then doing quality inspections and measuring parts on the assembly line or rebuilding machines in the workshop,” she said

“Being at JCB opened my eyes to how much goes on behind the scenes and how diverse the roles within agricultural engineering can be. There’s a huge mix of people that combine to keep the production line running, and to keep tractors heading out of the doors and on to the farm,” she added.