Coventry manufacturing apprentice receives royal award

Prince Andrew and Luke Collins

A Coventry apprentice has been given the Royal seal of approval as he embarks on a career in engineering.

Luke Collins is a degree apprentice with Sarginsons Industries, a Coventry-based manufacturing specialist which creates lightweight aluminium components for a range of sectors, including automotive.

The 19-year-old joined the company earlier this year after completing four years of study at WMG Academy and is one of three degree apprentices to be employed by Sarginsons.

And, just a few weeks into his working life, Luke headed to St. James’s Palace to pick up his Duke of York Award, which recognises excellence in technical study.

Luke was handed his certificate by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and his award was in recognition of a series of presentations he gave to industry while studying at WMG.

One of those presentations was to his now employer, Sarginsons, and this helped to land him the role with the company.

Luke said: “It was a great feeling to receive the award but it was made even more special by getting to receive it in such an amazing place. It really was a day to remember.

“My parents had bought me a new suit for passing my BTEC at WMG so this was the perfect opportunity to wear it for the first time.”

He added: “I was inspired to take up engineering by my granddad. He would take me to science and imagineering fairs when I was younger and it’s through him and these events that I gained my knowledge and interest in this field.

“The route I have taken means, ultimately, I will end up with a Mechanical Engineering degree through Coventry University – something I never thought was possible.”

He is now working in the maintenance department at Sarginsons as he completes his four-year degree apprenticeship.

Luke said: “I enjoy the fact that it has been hands-on from day one. My mentor here got me involved with a project immediately and I feel that I’ve been part of the team from the moment I arrived.

“I attend university on campus at certain times whilst doing some of my university work at Sarginsons.  I also spend time out at the tech centre at HORIBA MIRA, which is part of the course.

“I am enjoying every minute of it.”

Luke joins Tom Bowers and Theppana Mahunathasan as the trio of degree apprentices working for Sarginsons as the company plans for its short, medium and long-term growth.

Anthony Evans, managing director of Sarginsons, said: “We are delighted to have all three on board and it’s great to be able to give young people with a keen interest in an engineering career this opportunity.

“We were all very proud when Luke was given the Duke of York Award in recognition of his hard work and we believe he, Tom and Theppana, are excellent additions to our team.

“There is no question that this new degree apprenticeship through Coventry University provides an exciting and important resource for local industry.”