PROSPER MAGAZINE: SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION
CNC APPRENTICE IS KEY TO CANNOCK'S FIRM'S VENTILATOR PUSH
A 20-year-old CNC machining apprentice is playing a key role in manufacturing over 150,000 critical parts for the NHS.
Jacob Benton, who is studying towards his HNC Level 4 with Chamber Patron member, In-Comm Training, is working around the clock with the manufacturing team at Cannock-based Key Precision to produce up to nine different components for use in the assembly of ventilators being built for the frontline.
The young engineer has programmed three different CNC machines to create five oxygen supply line parts, completing the complex task in just a few hours of receiving the order so the company can meet urgent timelines set by the consortium.
"It's great that I am putting what I've learned on my apprenticeship into action on such a crucial project that will help save lives," Jacob told Prosper, who has set his sights on gaining his BEng degree and a future career in Production Management.
"Each part starts with us receiving drawings and then, from there, I write a CNC programme to produce the specified component. For us to meet the deadlines expected and to give us the different tolerances required, I had to use three different CNC machines."
He said, "There's a real team ethic and this has been evident during this project, with a dedicated cell set-up for production and many of us working over 60 to 70 hours over the week and during the Easter Holidays."
Key Precision is a specialist manufacturer of precision turned parts, inserts for plastic and sheet metal fasteners, supplying high profile customers such as Aston Martin, Bentley, JCB and Rolls-Royce.
The company, which employs 25 people at its base on Phoenix Road, has worked with In-Comm Training for more than 20 years, accessing upskilling courses and forklift training for its workforce.
Jacob is the firm's third apprentice, starting as a Level 2 machinist in 2017 before following the CNC pathway to achieve his Level 3 last year and now embarking on his HNC that will eventually lead to a degree.
Jason Daniels, Technical Manager at In-Comm Training, concluded: "We are very proud of how Jacob has progressed, supported by an employer that really gets 'apprentices' and the value they can bring to a business.
"He's well on course to secure his engineering degree in two years' time and continue his progression at Key Precision. Learning on the job has certainly made a difference to how quickly his career has taken off."