WEC Group named Regional Large Employer of the Year 2020


Darwen based WEC Group have once again been named North West Large Employer of the Year at the North West Apprenticeship Awards 2020 for the third consecutive year.

The regional leg of the National Apprenticeship Awards competition provides local businesses from a range of sectors with the opportunity to celebrate their achievements of outstanding apprentices, apprentice employers and individuals. Apprenticeships are now widely available from a diverse and growing range of sectors, who are all committed to providing exceptional training programmes for local individuals.

Kris Mercer, Training and Development Manager at WEC Group Ltd said “We are absolutely ecstatic to have been named as the North West’s Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year 2020. Being recognised as the Top Employer in the North West for the third year in a row is a testament to all the hard work that we have put in to develop our successful Apprenticeships scheme and in-house welding academy.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of our continued growth and success and we believe that our apprenticeship programme is leading the way to bridge the gap between education and the actual needs of engineering employers locally. Over 200 apprentices have now trained in our Academy and many of them have progressed within the organisation allowing our company to treble in size.”

WEC Group are no stranger to apprenticeship success after Tyler, a highly skilled welding apprentice recently represented the UK at the WorldSkills Olympics in Russia after training for two years. Another Apprentice has also followed in Tyler’s footsteps, Kieran has recently been selected to represent the UK at the WorldSkills Olympics in Shanghai 2022. Since WEC Group apprentices started competing in 2015, they have accumulated a total of nine UK medals (including 3 golds).

The training academy opened its doors in 2006 and has since skilled up over 200 apprentices in various advanced disciplines including welding and fabrication, mechanical engineering and CNC machining. Over 50% of our welding workforce in Lancashire are current or former apprentices trained in their academy, creating an above average skill level of employees enabling them to win international contracts which were previously beyond their reach.

Kris added “We are now looking ahead to the National Apprenticeship Awards on Wednesday 25th November and are hoping to bring the National Large Employer of the Year Award back to Darwen.”

WEC Group would like to express their appreciation to everyone who continues to make their Apprenticeship Training Academy a success, and a huge thank you to the apprentices who have worked tirelessly throughout an exceptionally challenging year.

About WEC Group Training Academy

WEC Group Training Academy is the only apprenticeship scheme of its type in the UK, offering traditional five year apprenticeships in welding/fabrication, CNC machining and technical support engineering as well as recently expanding to other areas of the company including business administration and marketing.

Our Training Academy was set up in 2006 to address the ongoing concern about the shortage of skilled engineers. Thirteen years on, we have created a loyal & highly-skilled workforce of 850 staff and apprenticeships have been an integral part of our success with over 200 apprentices coming through our doors since the academy opened its doors.

Planning permission has now been granted for our new 25,000ft² state-of-the-art Training School in Blackburn. Building work has started in August 2020 and our WEC Apprentices have begun fabrication of the structural steel work for the building which is expected to be erected by December 2020. With two classrooms, 33 welding bays, and the very latest metalworking equipment, the new Training School facilities will enable the company to partner with local schools and other engineering employers as well as provide end-point assessment in partnership with the Welding Institute.

For more information or for pictures, please contact:
  • Lauren Williamson – Marketing
  • E: lauren.williamson@wecl.co.uk
  • T: 01254 773 718