Ryan Coe (Apprentice), Peter Szymanski (Apprentice) and Kevin Hodgson (General Manager)
Kongsberg Maritime UK is part of Kongsberg Gruppen a £2.8 billion company with over 11,000 employees worldwide. Prior to Covid-19, as an organisation, Kongsberg Maritime UK Ltd had been considering recruiting two apprentices to join their growing team. Kevin Hodgson – General Manager – Naval (RAS Replenishment At sea) and Sharon Pearson – Projects Manager had both previously progressed through the apprenticeship route themselves and realised the benefits of ‘growing your own’.
Kongsberg engaged with a number of training providers and discussed their requirements. They were keen to work with a training provider who could source a high calibre of the candidate and provide a flexible approach to their requirements. The team at TDR Training were delighted that Kongsberg decided to progress with their requirements and got working on the vacancies straight away.
The apprenticeship vacancies were advertised, early April. Kongsberg provided fantastic job descriptions with excellent progression opportunities. It was obvious that both vacancies were going to attract a lot of attention and they did! The calibre of the applicant that applied for both vacancies (Project Management – Engineering Technician Standard and Engineering Apprentice – Engineering Design and Draughtsperson Standard) were outstanding!
TDR received over 100 applications which were shortlisted by the recruitment team and interviewed by the engineering coordinators. It was a difficult decision to shortlist the candidates. Once shortlisted, the team at Kongsberg, Kevin, Sharon and Chris Smith (Kongsberg Engineering manager) had a task on their hands also. As the recruitment process was taking place during the lockdown, all of the interviews took place via Zoom. This was a new method for both TDR and Kongsberg, however, it worked really well and full communication was maintained during the entire process.
After 4 days of interviews, 4 candidates were invited to a second zoom interview with Kongsberg and job offers were made to both Ryan and Peter who were absolutely delighted and accepted. Job offers were made in June, however, due to lockdown restrictions, it was decided that both Ryan and Peter would start working with Kongsberg early September 20.
Kevin was in contact with TDR throughout the entire recruitment process:
“The calibre of applicants was excellent and it really was a difficult decision to make. We were really impressed by the aptitude and standard of candidates who applied to both roles. Apprentices are future-proofing our business and aligning Kongsberg UK to win potential contracts like UK FFS, Indian FFS and support Foreign Navies globally. By May 2020, we have already surpassed our order expectations.
Our typical contracts last up to 35 years, to install our replenishment systems and service the vessels globally. We are delighted that Ryan and Peter will gain great exposure and we really hope that both excel with Kongsberg and progress their learning as far as they want to progress their learning journey, the Kongsberg RAS team will support them!”
This is refreshing news to hear from an organisation and one type of organisations which TDR like to engage with. Apprentices really are the future of an organisation, they grow within an organisation and progress. They will help future-proof the business and be able to showcase in the organisation, techniques they learn whilst attending TDR for both their practical training (Diploma) and theory (Btec).
Another interesting fact, globally, Kongsberg Maritime UK Ltd (RAS team) based in Gateshead is the only area to recruit apprentices within the last 12 months. The Gateshead site has also expanded 30% floor space during the pandemic and increased headcount through the recruitment process. The offices are equipped to deal with the social distancing measures and the team at Gateshead are keen to welcome two apprentices to their workforce.
Both Ryan and Peter will spend a period of time at TDR’s Training & Development Centre, to complete their Diploma in Engineering and Manufacturing, this will run for 36 weeks (block release – Monday – Friday). This programme will commence on 28th September and plans are already in place to welcome both Ryan and Peter into Kongsberg once a month for their lunch and Kevin, Sharon and Chris plan to visit the centre regularly to meet with the tutors and see how Ryan and Peter are progressing.
Ryan and Peter have now both began their apprenticeship with Kongsberg and are doing well.
Ryan, who is 19, and is employed as Project Apprentice is delighted to have joined such a great organisation. On completion of his A-levels in Maths, Biology and Chemistry, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He started a role in customer service whilst looking for the right opportunity. He kept an eye on the Recruit an Apprenticeship government website and when he saw the post with Kongsberg advertised, he applied straight away!
“I am excited to see what journey lies ahead with both Kongsberg and TDR, I am a really interactive person, who enjoys talking to people and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into the role with Kongsberg and learning all the aspects of engineering at TDR’s Training & Development Centre”
Peter, who is 20, has been employed as Engineering Apprentice and in his own words, he describes the moment he received the call to let him know he had been successful.
“It was the day before my 20th Birthday and I had been waiting for the moment for the last 2 years to finally be successful in being offered an apprenticeship. After being hit with lots of rejection I was literally ecstatic to be offered the job, such a fantastic opportunity with Kongsberg and can’t wait to get started with my apprenticeship”
Peter already holds a Diploma in General engineering, where he received double Distinction. He is looking forward to learning even more practical training at the Training & Development Centre and showcasing this when he returns to Kongsberg.
We will keep you updated with both Ryan and Peter’s progress in both TDR and Kongsberg.
If you are interested in joining TDR’s Engineering & Manufacturing Apprenticeships, please complete an application form. Alternatively, for more information, please call 0191 4911505 to speak to a member of the team or contact us and someone will call you back.