Apprentice power tapped by Royal Mail and the Cartwright Group

Trailer manufacturer, the Cartwright Group, has embarked on an exciting new initiative by swapping apprentices with one of its biggest customers, Royal Mail, to provide greater insight into each of the individual operations. 

Six vehicle technician apprentices from Royal Mail Fleet had the opportunity to tour Cartwright’s factory at Altrincham, Cheshire, to find out how the trailers they repair are designed and made.

They learned about every stage of the process, from initial design through to final paint-spraying, including Cartwright’s £1.8 million recently installed panel press, the paintshop and the freight and fabrications departments.

It was an enlightening experience as explained by Royal Mail Fleet’s 4th year Apprentice Vehicle Technician Daniel Carberry.  He said: “Today really opened my eyes on the scale of Cartwright and how much work is actually involved in making our trailers. We’ve been really impressed by everything we’ve seen and have enjoyed seeing the bigger picture.” 

In return, five Cartwright apprentices visited the Royal Mail Fleet’s workshop at Crick, Northamptonshire, to learn more about the important role trailers play in Royal Mail and Parcel Force Worldwide’s operations.

It was a hugely useful exercise and allowed the two apprentice groups to spark ideas off each other and each have been asked to feedback their ideas on any improvements they feel can be made in the day to day operation. 

Mark Cartwright, Group Managing Director, said: “Apprentices play an important part in Cartwright’s day-to-day operations and it is vital that we support the next generation coming through to make the most of their talents and skills.

“Cartwright prides itself on innovation, as well as engineering excellence, and we encourage our apprentices to think about ways of improving operations and processes. Young people often have a fresh perspective and can be very creative.

“This was our first apprentice exchange and we look forward to hearing their views.  It was a great success.  The two teams worked well together, sharing ideas and initial feedback has been extremely positive.”

Paul Gatti, Director of Royal Mail Fleet, said: “This was an excellent initiative from two companies that are committed to identifying and nurturing future talent.  I’m confident the apprentices will have learnt lots from the two days and be able to apply it in their respective areas.”

Cartwright has a long relationship with Royal Mail and the two companies have worked collaboratively together to ensure designs meet Royal Mail’s operational requirements.

One recent example is the “lifting roof” double decker trailer that Cartwright designed to accommodate a Royal Mail route with a low bridge. A conventional trailer low enough to pass under would take 75 cages. Cartwright created one that takes 95 by adding a moveable roof and associated aerodynamic benefits. 

Cartwright has an award-winning apprenticeship scheme which this year attracted 40 (check) new recruits, the largest number since it was established in 2012. The company is committed to supporting young people and has sponsored one apprentice through a degree in Engineering.

Since its inception more than 150 apprentices have passed through the scheme, which has been expanded from the trailer manufacturing process to also cover design engineering and the production team. Recruits attend day release and are mentored on the shop floor.

Royal Mail has a well-respected and long-established apprenticeship scheme across the whole business, including the vehicle maintenance teams who look after its fleet of 48,500 vehicles. It has been named Employer of the Year by its training partner and many of its apprentices have won individual awards. 

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