Since 2011, ANCA has been training apprentices in CNC machining, machine building, fault finding and analytical skills, machine commissioning and customer service.

Headquartered in Bayswater, Victoria, ANCA was struggling to recruit young engineers and trades people to join its team. As a privately-owned global exporter of advanced manufacturing technology, with more than 1,000 people around the world, a turnover of $250m and a dominant position in its sector, searching for skilled people was becoming a major business issue.

In response ANCA decided to develop its own talent. In January 2011 the company established an apprenticeship program that has been successfully training highly skilled technicians ever since. Set up by ANCA co-founder Pat McCluskey, the program has been designed to offer participants a range of technical training paths in CNC machining, machine building, machine commissioning, fault finding and analytical skills, and customer service.

ANCA currently has 15 apprentices and recently celebrated the graduation of four of these from the program. Commissioning Technician Daniel Shepley graduated from the ANCA Apprentice 2019 program in March and took out the Apprentice of the Year award by the company at the celebration evening.

Of participating in the program, Daniel said: “It feels great to finish my apprenticeship after four years. I have worked in multiple parts of production, learnt different skills in different areas, and met heaps of great people.

“My proudest achievement over the time of my apprenticeship would probably be the first time I was sent overseas. I was sent to Weinheim in Germany for three months to support ANCA’s German branch. It was a challenge working on some unfamiliar tasks but I learnt lots and was happy with the job I did.

Now that Daniel has finished his apprenticeship, his aim is to continue to work in areas of the business that will allow him to learn as much as he can. He is currently working in the commissioning department, and he plans to start an advanced diploma in mechatronics at night school.

“The biggest challenge of the program would have to be being sent over to America for six weeks to install new machines and service some older machines out in the field, I worked in various parts of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana,” Daniel added. “Although it was challenging, it was really rewarding to travel to customers and work on their machines – resulting in good outcomes.”

Successful candidates start with 12 months of training in ANCA’s Apprentice Training Facility, under the responsibility of the Apprentice Master. In the second year, participants have the chance to be part of a rotation program through various aspects of the business to ensure they receive a comprehensive education and gain exposure to a range of divisions.

The first year TAFE requirements are provided onsite by an accredited trainer and for the years following, all apprentices will attend TAFE one day per week during the TAFE terms. At the end of the four years, successful apprentices are trade-qualified in their chosen stream.

“ANCA has a proud history of investing in its people to develop a highly skilled and engaged workforce,” says Apprentice Master Stuart Gurney. “My apprentices get exposure to CNC machining, precision fitting, electrical testing and grinding applications throughout their four-year program.

“My passion is supporting the next generation of talent to enter the fascinating world of CNC grinding. Far from just being a manufacturing company we sell 99% of our product overseas and compete with German, Swiss, Japanese and US competitors successfully. We are honestly an Australian manufacturing success story. It is very rewarding to see how much my team develops over the four years to graduate with a fantastic career ahead of them.”