How an early Gripple encounter led to a promising engineering career (& a trip to the rainforest!)

Joe Goldthorpe, then aged 16 and having already worked at Gripple as part of a college vacation placement scheme, applied for a Modern Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering back in August 2012.

We were looking for candidates who were genuinely enthusiastic about engineering, eager to learn, able to work well and join in with others and to make a difference by being both creative and innovative. Joe told us that he had already achieved a Young Apprenticeship in Engineering and also obtained a student award in mechanical engineering within the Barnsley College engineering department. Here was someone with a clear passion for and commitment to engineering!

When Joe initially started his apprenticeship, he was tasked with working across our three Sheffield sites to ensure he learnt the core skills required to become an engineer. He was involved in machine breakdowns and preventative maintenance schedules. After just a year and his potential having been recognised, Joe was rewarded with an opportunity to spend some time in the Gripple automation department to further widen his skills. During this time, Joe showed a keen interest in electrical and software design. As well as finding it interesting, Joe was savvy enough to identify that Gripple at that point had just one electrical designer – Joe felt he could put his new found skills to good use to benefit the business. Not only did Joe put himself forward to take on this role and accept the extra responsibility, but he also wanted to continue with his mechanical work, whilst also spending one day a week at Barnsley College.

Joe was soon able to use all our machines, including the miller, lathe, drill and grinder, and to read electrical drawings and wire his own electrical panels which are fixed to our assembly machines. Joe is trusted to be able to build his own equipment and to test it before it is commissioned and is starting to learn how to programme PLC systems.

Having already obtained a BTEC in engineering in the early stages of his apprenticeship, Joe continues to study at Barnsley College, working towards an HNC in Mechatronics Engineering. This is supported by Gripple, with one day a week allocated to attendance at college and college work.

Joe’s longer term plan is to become a multi-skilled engineer able to both design and build assembly machines for Gripple and, as Gripple Automation has become a standalone business, for external projects also. His apprenticeship at Gripple continues to offer the variety of training and the mentoring support to allow him to do just that. Software is an area of particular interest to Joe and he is keen to become a fully competent PLC and robotics programmer of our machines. First of all though, Joe has the small matter of a 10 week trip to Costa Rica in the summer to get through! The Raleigh International project offers young people a unique opportunity to help local people to improve their lives and protect their environment. Good luck Joe!

“In my opinion, an apprenticeship is undoubtedly the best route to take if you want to learn a trade – I have learnt hands-on skills whilst also getting some qualifications. These skills will stand me in good stead for life!” “Gripple is a great place to work – I really like the people and the friendly culture. I always feel able to ask questions and to challenge and there are so many skilled, experienced engineers here, I have been able to get to grips with all different areas of engineering and there is always someone to ask.”
Joe Goldthorpe, Engineering Apprentice
Tags: CSR, Careers

Why use Gripple?

  • Significant time and cost savings on your project
  • Complete, off-site solutions which minimise health and safety concerns
  • Innovative, patented solutions designed by an in-house team of engineers
  • Considerable reductions in packaging, vehicle movements & embodied CO2
  • A range of support services at every stage of your project, provided by our technical team