Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander (second-in-command to Chancellor George Osborne) has paid a visit to Heatric Ltd at our Poole Manufacturing Headquarters.
Mr Alexander toured the company’s new state-of-the-art Holton Heath factory last Thursday and watched as Heatric’s unique products were being built. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss technical training. Heatric’s training and development programmes for engineering graduates and apprentices are highly regarded, and the minster spent a long time on the factory floor talking with management, engineering staff and apprentices.
“We’ve been doubling in size every two years and it’s hard to recruit enough welders who can work to our very high standards. Now we mostly grow our own talent, in partnership with Bournemouth and Poole College. Our apprentices become some of the most skilful and highly qualified welder/fabricators in Europe,” says Heatric training manager Paul Morris. The company takes ten trainees a year, some straight from school. The four-year apprenticeship is based at Heatric’s full-scale replica factory just a few minutes from the main site and places are highly prized.
Heatric also operates a well-structured training programme for its graduate engineers, some of whom join as student interns. Chris Doughty, HR manager, explains: “We make sure that every graduate gets careful mentoring, early responsibility, and lots of opportunities to travel and meet clients. Then there are many career opportunities open to them, from moving into more technical roles to becoming part of management and working more closely with customers and the rest of the Heatric team.”
Heatric’s ‘printed circuit’ heat exchangers are key technologies in many sectors, but they are especially important in offshore energy where they are used to cool and liquefy natural gas so it can be transported cheaply all over the world. Several Heatric units feature prominently in Shell’s ground-breaking Prelude project; this floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform is 488 metres long and weighs 600,000 tonnes, making it the largest floating structure ever built.
Mr Alexander was accompanied on his visit by local MP Annette Brooke (who retires at the next general election) and Vicki Slade, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Mid Dorset & North Poole.