Newcomer Milenka Putniorz, 17, started her journey with Marshall Slingsby Advanced Composites in September 2022, having joined as an apprentice in business administration.
“I knew someone who used to work here as an apprentice and so I applied to do the same,” says Milenka, who lives in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, close to MSAC’s headquarters.
“My apprenticeship runs for 15 months and every two or three months I will work in a different department,” she explains. “Currently, I am in Purchasing, and then I will move to Commercial, and after that to HR.
“The apprenticeship system is great because it offers me an in-depth understanding of how each part of the business functions, and allows me to appreciate what each role entails, as well as seeing the bigger picture of a how a multi-faceted company operates.”
In addition to her working in multiple departments, Milenka also undertakes a three-hour online apprentice lesson each month, as well as monthly visits from her tutor, Allison.
As part of its continuous improvement programme, MSAC has been investing in equipment and people, including additional manufacturing capabilities, design software, inspection and mechanical test capabilities and Non-Destructive testing.
A key part of that programme has been its well-respected apprenticeship scheme that works in conjunction with Craven College in Skipton, an organisation local to its Kirkbymoorside base.
Milenka, who studied business and finance at college, says she had always wanted to find an apprenticeship programme related to these two fields – and that MSAC was the perfect fit.
“I am currently in the Purchasing department where I have been involved in creating some interesting projects for suppliers,” she says. “But the area I am looking forward to most is Financing – I would like to think I have a mind for numbers! I might even make a career of it.”
Milenka says her apprenticeship is a fantastic building block towards pursuing the right career path because it allows her to gain hard-won experience in many different disciplines.
“Hopefully, by the end of my apprenticeship I will have a career goal set down and can focus on one particular path,” she says. “You need to see where the opportunity lies, and what grabs your interest best.”
Keen on health and fitness, Milenka has competed in triathlons and was formerly in a local basketball team (“Once you get to a certain age you can’t really compete with the boys anymore!”) She has also been a lifeguard.
Milenka is a firm believer in apprenticeship schemes. ‘The benefit for young people is that you get several years of on-the-job training under your belt which you won’t necessarily get if you choose university,” she says.
“You also get to learn first-hand about how a business functions – things like planning , project scheduling, meeting customer expectations, and managing budgets. And once you’re qualified there is a very strong chance of gaining permanent employment.”
For Milenka, the most important aspect is the leaned experience.
“For young people nowadays, it’s the be all and end all,” she says. “I have heard of people with Masters degrees who can’t get a foothold in the job market because it’s already crowded with graduates. Whereas with the apprenticeship route you get the qualifications and the learned experience – that’s what prospective employers value most.”