Editor's Desk

Engineering supplier increases Illawarra apprentice uptake

Leussink Engineering does so on the strength and knowledge that not only are its prospects for business growth very national, by training its own it opens even greater market opportunities in mining, rail, construction, shipbuilding, energy, materials handling, transport and general manufacturing.

Furthermore, as it has already demonstrated over the last 28 years in apprentice training, by developing a highly technical in-house team, it throws open the doors for import replacement deals with large companies desperate for fast turnaround on time-critical jobs and component emergencies.

Jason Leussink, the director of the company, strongly believes it is this very platform, based on the strength of skilled apprentices, that has protected Leussink?s markets through indifferent times and now sees it expanding into new markets as a provider to some of the biggest companies in industrial Australia.

?We are always bringing through a group of fresh youngsters that are learning new manual skills from ground level before moving onto computer numerical controlled (CNC) training,? said Leussink.

?Our apprentice uptake ratio has always been very high. This year, however, we have increased the quota as there are six apprentices to be taken on. In a workforce of 45 employees that is a very high percentage.

?We normally have about eight apprentices on the production floor at the same time. As of 2012, we will have 14. In 1995, we first appointed a dedicated trainer for apprentices and that is all this one supervisor does.

?His supervision range is very high because our boys progress quite rapidly and training is intense because most of our equipment is CNC rather than manual.

?We do take on tradespeople when we can find, but they are few and far between and their skills are often such that they cannot hit the ground running. Our in-house apprentices most often slot in much more comfortably to new technical tasks.?

Leussink Engineering?s business is fairly unique as it is focused on a quite small batch of quantities ? often as small as a single item for one order!

Where the company claims to have a market distinction is in skilful and profitable production of once-off single items on CNC technology normally used for mass production.

Attention to scheduling and inventory combined with highly trained apprentices ensures these cost-effective tiny runs work for its clients.
?With a plethora of highly trained CNC-savvy young staff on the production floor, we have that solid background to produce these once-off items for a good price and quality because we do it all the time and are very good at it,? said Leussink.

?We have made a lot of refinement to the apprentice selection process over the last five years and over that time we?ve had about 80 to 100 applicants per intake.

?After the first screening we do Morrisby testing to gauge each individual?s capabilities and determine whether the applicants will be attuned enough to get through the trade.

?We?re becoming more critical as to where our applicants may envisage being a few years down the track ? as a tradesperson at Leussink Engineering or are they the kind that will want to go to university further down the track rather than remain with us?

?But our record is excellent. We retain about 90 per cent of our trained apprentices and our employee age profile is very young. We see these as very strong signs for not just our company but Australian industry in general.

?Now, as we invest in newer and more sophisticated CNC machinery, we are not only looking to hire new people externally to operate these. We are moving our in-house trained personnel up the ladder to upskill them while opening doors to even more apprentices to come through the system.?

Source: Leussink Engineering/Word Press Australia

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