Opal Fabrication Ltd supporting NKC Engineering students
Opal Fabrication Ltd was started by Stefan and David Dodd in 2004. It is a family-run business employing 12 people from the Gravesend area, specialising in the fabrication and welding of all metals also flat sheet, box and tube laser cutting. In 2014 the company moved to new larger premises and invested in a laser cutter. Over the years Opal have continued to expand their workforce through apprenticeship programmes and College placement schemes. Both directors left school and went into an apprenticeship programme at the age of 16. It was a great base to start their careers in engineering and due to this, they recognise the importance in investing and training the future generation of engineers.
Opal initially approached the College in 2018/19 with the interest in taking on some students to support their growing demand. Since then, Opal have taken on two separate apprentices (Josh and Arron) plus 3 industry placement students (Kieran, Finley and Thomas) 2019/2020 – which unfortunately came to an abrupt end, as a result of covid-19 lockdown measures. Going forward this year, the team at Opal Fabrications have taken on three new industry placement students (Ryan Hood, Charlie Powling and Harry Lee-Evans) all from our Level 3 BTEC engineering course. Each student has been completing one day per week, alongside their College studies.
I work in a team with kind and funny people, who genuinely enjoy teaching me new skills. I would definitely recommend a placement with Opal. (Student, Ryan Hood)
All three placement students (Ryan, Charlie and Harry) have given such positive comments about their time at Opal. Both Harry and Charlie have expressed that they are ‘thoroughly enjoying’ working there alongside College, with Charlie starting his Engineering Operative apprenticeship programme with Opal in September 2021.
Stefan Dodd (Director) stated,
"We have worked closely with NKC to bring young people into the engineering /manufacture industry. From a large pool of applicants Poppy (Employer Relationship Officer) whittled it down to six potential students. Poppy then went on to arrange for us to interview and then offer one day a week long term work experience for the selected candidates. This has worked really well for us as it’s given us an opportunity to see the how they performed in the factory not just in the interview room. The young people were extremely positive and got stuck in straight away. It was interesting to see how particular individuals were more inquisitive and keen to get involved with projects on site. For example, some of the students have been involved in the manufacturing of steel flowers, to support a North Kent Charity. Overall It has been a very positive experience for us and I like to think that they can take something away from the experience. We have chosen two students that we hope will be joining us in September, to complete their Engineering Operative apprenticeship programme with us. We couldn’t encourage you more to give Poppy and team a call even if it’s just to offer work experience. You never know you might come across your next indispensable employee!"
Poppy Drury (ERO) commented,
‘It has been a pleasure working with Stefan and the team at Opal Fabrications over the past few years. Stefan has always been very supportive of the placement scheme and recognising its benefits. They have offered long term, invaluable, hands on experience to so many NKC students, which in turn has led to some fantastic opportunities, such as securing an apprenticeship or full-time roles. Outcomes such as these, make our job so worthwhile and rewarding to be a part of, I hope that we can continue working together, to support the up-and-coming generation of local engineers"
Opal Fabrications Ltd, Norfolk Rd, Gravesend, DA12 2PS
01474 568100 email@example.com
Star Apprentice - Mollie bounces back from redundancy!
Mollie Hobbs is currently completing her Hairdressing Level 2 apprenticeship with Salon 167. Unfortunately, Mollie was made redundant by her previous employer due to Covid-19. However, working closely with her assessor Hayley Clements, Mollie was fortunate to carry on her qualification with Salon 167.
Hayley Clement, described the impact of Covid-19 on her apprentice Mollie,
"Unfortunately, due to the financial impact businesses faced during the pandemic, Mollie was made redundant. This was a real shame as Mollie is a brilliant learner and has a real passion for hairdressing. Speaking with some of the employers we work alongside with, Mollie was able to carry out a facetime interview with Hannah who is the employer at Salon 167, and she was successful in gaining employment in a new salon to continue her apprenticeship. Mollie started when the salons were able to reopen in April and is really enjoying it."
Due to great relationships the hairdressing department have with Salon 167. Mollie was able to carry on her apprenticeship qualification with Salon 167, this meant her learning and progress was not disrupted.
Hannah Harrison, Director tells us what made her choose Mollie Hobbs,
“Mollie took part in an Instagram live for North Kent college. I was informed by her tutor that Mollie had previously worked in a salon and had great passion for hairdressing. By watching Mollie's reactions to the live questions, I could tell she would be an amazing candidate for Salon167. Her enthusiastic approach for hairdressing and learning was captured watching her 5-minute clip. “
Hannah Harrison, Director tells us the benefits of apprenticeships,
“Personally, I will always encourage students to carry out an apprenticeship especially if they have a passion for hair. My reasons are simple, you will earn while you learn. You will experience hands on training by talented hairdressers with years of experience and broad imaginations. Salon environment opens you up to what real salon life will be like. Also, you will gain clients through in-salon training and these will be key to you starting out as a hairdresser, these clients will support you and help you learn in many ways. 20 years ago, I started out as an apprentice with North Kent College and I am proud to say I still have many of my supporting clients in my column today.”
Mollie has made a great impression with Salon 167 and her assessor Hayley. We know she will be a successful individual during her apprenticeship and future career within the hair industry.
Specialists in refrigeration, air-conditioning, F-Gas and assessments
With over 30 years' experience, the Hall Training Centre at North Kent College is one of only a handful of City & Guilds approved F-Gas specialist refrigeration training centres in the UK. Our range of training courses have been structured to meet the increasing demands on industry to meet safety, environmental and legal requirements regarding installation, commissioning, service, and maintenance of refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems.
"The course was presented in an excellent format which encouraged me to fully participate in all tasks and practical exercises. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it was definitely time well spent." - Mike Rees, Unilever
Training courses are designed for a variety of commercial, industrial, and marine applications and have been designed to minimise engineer's time away from the workplace, whilst meeting all the legal and health and safety obligations of the industry. With a largely practical content, they range in duration to meet the needs of the sector and are delivered from our extensive workshops in Gravesend.