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College win for Bombardier apprentice

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An apprentice engineer at Bombardier’s heavy maintenance depot in Crewe has been crowned Reaseheath College’s ‘Engineering Apprentice of the Year’.

Liam Barnett, 21, from Biddulph, Staffordshire, received his award from Bombardier general manager Tony Webb in front of fellow apprentices and colleagues at the historic works.

Liam is one of 16 engineering apprentices, aged 16 to 50, who are employed by Bombardier and trained by Reaseheath’s specialised staff.

Liam, who has completed his Level 2 apprenticeship programme and has progressed onto a Level 3 advanced apprenticeship, joined Bombardier three years ago after completing his A-levels at Biddulph High School.

Bombardier’s Crewe depot has a skilled workforce of 350 and is investing in its apprenticeship programme as part of future plans to enable the site to be considered as the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Rolling Stock Refurbishment, Service and Repair.

Liam goes to Reaseheath College, set in the countryside near Nantwich, one day a week.

Presenting Liam with a trophy and certificate, Tony Webb said, ‘Apprentices are the future for engineering industries like ourselves. Bombardier is looking forward to a bright future, thanks to the predicted growth in the rail industry, and by investing in our apprenticeship programme we are ensuring that we have young, talented and skilled staff to provide workforce succession. Liam has shown real passion for the job and really wants to learn and get involved. He is exactly the sort of young person we need to attract into the industry.

‘Reaseheath is an excellent training partner and delivers a training programme which suits our needs and aspirations.’ Says Liam, ‘Becoming an apprentice has suited me very well because I like working practically and you pick up a lot of skills at your workplace. You get a lot of variety at Bombardier because you work on many different projects, and I also enjoy the classroom and workshop sessions at Reaseheath.’