One of Gloucestershire's leading businessmen has described apprentices as the "blue chips" of industry and vital for the future of industry.
Staverton-based aerospace company, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty MRO, has 260 employees and is now looking to recruit six apprentices in 2014.
The firm, which maintains and repairs both military and civil aircraft landing gear, works in conjunction with Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET) which is supporting the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo's The Age of the Apprentice campaign. The aim is to highlight the training and career opportunities for the county's young people.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty MRO is well established in the recruitment and training of apprentices.
The trophy cabinet at the company's Staverton headquarters glistens with awards for its apprentices at both local and national level.
Managing director Nigel Woodford said: "Our vision is clear in that we continue to strive to be the customer's first-choice maintenance provider, delivering a safe, quality product.
"Of course, in order to continually deliver our vision we require the best people, and for the future that's where our class-winning Apprentice Framework fits."
Working with GET, the company's apprentices undertake a proven four-year apprenticeship programme. The first year is primarily spent at Gloucester-based GET, where they get the initial grounding in engineering and industry.
The following years, in addition to being back in the company, they attend both GET and local colleges on day release.
At the end of the apprenticeship the young people are certified skilled and a valuable asset to both Messier-Bugatti-Dowty MRO and the Gloucestershire engineering community.
Nigel Woodford said that following the 1980s dip in the recruitment of apprentices it was essential to invest in the future of people who will carry on the tradition of engineering that Gloucestershire so proudly holds.
"We will continue to invest in them, as we see apprentices as the 'blue chips' of industry and our contribution to this county's continued lead in aerospace and other high-class engineering skills," he said.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty MRO is part of the Safran Group which has 62,500 employees worldwide, generating £11.3billion in sales.
GET is supporting The Age of the Apprentice campaign, together with Gloucestershire College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Delphi Diesel Systems, Western Power Distribution and Speller Metcalfe. It culminates in Gloucestershire SkillsFest 2014, which is being hosted by Gloucestershire College on March 7and 8.