Newbury MP Laura Farris opens dedicated apprenticeship facility at Xtrac

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Berkshire-based automotive and motorsport transmission specialist, Xtrac, has announced the launch of a dedicated apprenticeship facility at its global headquarters in Thatcham.

The Xtrac Academy was officially opened by Laura Farris, MP for Newbury, at a ceremony on Friday (March 4).

Also attending was Shelly Van Meter, head of department at University Centre Newbury and responsible for apprenticeships at Newbury College.

Laura Farris said: “Xtrac has a rich pedigree in providing outstanding opportunities for young people in West Berkshire. The opening of the Xtrac Academy is a natural development of its successful and long-standing apprenticeship scheme. It confirms Xtrac’s forward-thinking approach to its business and the skills needed for its continued success.”

Xtrac has operated a popular training programme since the 1990s and has been working alongside Newbury College since 2003 to deliver its Level 2, 3 and 6 apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing.

The company felt that the time was right to invest in dedicated facilities providing hands-on manufacturing and computer-aided engineering skills training for apprentices, focused on Xtrac’s unique products.

The company will continue working closely with Newbury College to provide a high standard of classroom education.

The academy will welcome the first cohort of apprentices during 2022 to its newly built CAE classroom and adjoining practical skills workshop. The apprentices will experience working in up to 16 company departments throughout their 18 to 48-month education.

Xtrac’s apprentice manager, Warren Page, advised City & Guilds on particular features Xtrac needed for its apprentice programme. He commented: “The ongoing benefit of a dedicated Xtrac Academy to both Xtrac and its apprentices is the breadth of learning and practical experience they will accrue during their training. Engineering increasingly demands a flexible, multi-skilled workforce, and that is what the Xtrac Academy is designed to support.”

The automotive and motorsport industry is in the midst of seismic change. With the advent of electric vehicles and the pace of advancements in emerging automotive technologies, net-zero mobility and future road transport decarbonisation are well underway. Xtrac already plays a significant role, and attracting a new multi-skilled workforce is vital to its continued success.

“The global automotive industry is undergoing a once in a generation transformation as the automobile transitions from conventional petrol and diesel power, through hybrid to decarbonised electric propulsion,” explains Adrian Moore, chief executive of Xtrac.

“One of the fundamental technologies needed for this transition is the vehicle’s transmission system, for which Xtrac’s highly skilled and capable people demonstrate agility and innovation time after time.”

“These key attributes mean that the company is at the forefront of this global transformation, which the Queen’s Award for Enterprise recognised in 2020 with our Innovation Award.

“And in line with our emphasis on professional training, in 2021, Xtrac received the Princess Royal Training Award following a rigorous assessment by the City & Guilds Group.”

The investment into the Xtrac Academy is part of Xtrac’s ongoing business expansion, which has also provided additional state-of-art test facilities and increased the capacity of the factory to meet growing global demand.

In addition to providing apprenticeships, Xtrac also offers an award-winning undergraduate scheme, a work experience scheme for pupils from years 10, 11 and 12, and summer internships for university students.

Pictured: The Xtrac Academy was officially opened by Laura Farris, MP for Newbury. She is flanked (l to r) by undergraduate student Sam Ray, president Peter Digby, chief executive Adrian Moore, apprentice manager Warren Page and Masters graduate Henry Durie