TRUCKMAN'S investment in the next generation of composite laminators is being supported by a new partnership with Dudley College.

The Dudley-based manufacturer and distributor of hardtops and 4x4 accessories currently employs 87 people in the town and is embarking on the new apprenticeship programme to support the development of its future workforce.

Its first two apprentice laminators will be trained on-site at Truckman’s production facility by the company’s team of experienced professionals, supported by training and assessment from Dudley College staff.

Lamination is a core function of Truckman’s business, which uses the process to produce its durable and extensive range of robust commercial hardtops, which are fitted to pick-up trucks used in sectors including construction, agriculture, utilities and by the emergency services.

Apprentices Scott Casserley and Todd Jones have embarked on the bespoke twelve-month course, which places a strong emphasis on quality improvements, and will lead to them gaining an NVQ Level 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operations.

Truckman's executive chairman, Mike Wheeler, said: “It is imperative that we foster the next generation of skilled employees to maintain our position as a market-leading, British hardtop manufacturer.

"Combining the expertise and knowledge of our current, skilled workforce, with Dudley College’s apprenticeship pedigree has created a programme that will help meet that ambition.

“This apprenticeship will give Scott, Todd, and hopefully many more young people like them the foundations of a great career, while ensuring we have the skills we need to continue to innovate and grow.

"Quality is of the highest importance to us, so we were delighted that Dudley College was able to meet our requirements by making it the focus of the apprenticeship programme.”

Iain Cole, engineering and advanced manufacturing business manager at Dudley College, added: “We are delighted to be working with Truckman to deliver this apprenticeship programme.

"As one of the top colleges nationally for the number of apprentices that successfully achieve their qualifications and the first FE College to be graded outstanding by Ofsted this year, we are confident in our ability to meet the needs of industry, while preparing the next generation for rewarding careers.”