A new apprenticeship programme at Witton manufacturer CHH Conex is helping to drive growth at the company.

The electronics integrator and logistics solutions provider is one of a growing number of manufacturing and technology companies in the West Midlands that is making the most of the renewed interest in apprenticeships to help plug its skills gap and offer jobs to young people from the area.

The company, which introduced a new apprenticeship programme in September 2011, says it is the need for skilled workers within technology and manufacturing with practical knowledge and experience that is helping to drive these initiatives at a local and national level.

Managing director Tim Hughes said: “At CHH Conex we are committed to investing in the ongoing development and skills of our people for the benefit of our business, our customers and local communities.

“This apprenticeship programme, launched in association with the Engineering Employers Federation West Midlands, gives us a wonderful opportunity to identify and continually invest in new, local talent.

“We are also able to play a role in the development of the next generation of skilled workers who will help drive economic recovery and growth and reinforce the importance of manufacturing in the Midlands.”

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Douglas from Kingswinford, near Dudley, and 18-year-old James Magee, from Castle Bromwich, are the first two electrical and mechanical apprentices to start on the programme.

Mr Douglas said: “My father started out as an apprentice and from a young age I got to experience helping him with cables on stage when working with musical theatre as a sound engineer.

“The opportunity to work with a company that manufactures cables for all types of applications seemed perfect for me.

“Within a short time of joining, I got to experience making some of the cables and I am thrilled to be part of a company which is growing and getting things done.

“I believe determination is an important attribute in an apprentice. I like to set goals and I would like to eventually get to a position where I manage aspects of the manufacturing and production side of the business.”

Mr Magee added: “I was attracted to CHH Conex because of its ambition to be an employer of choice within the area.

“The company also came across as dynamic and up-and-coming which inspired me.”

Mr Douglas and Mr Magee are mentored by former apprentice and maintenance engineer Miles Scrivens.

He said: “A good attitude and strong work ethics are essential. If you approach this opportunity correctly and work at getting the most out of it, the sky really is the limit.”

CHH Conex employs around 141 people at its 85,000 square feet Birmingham plant and plans to increase its turnover to £21million by 2014. The company provides design, manufacturing, logistics and other related services to create value and minimise waste within the telecoms, rail, aerospace and defence, medical, security, energy and industrial markets.