A MANUFACTURER is pressing ahead with an apprenticeship recruitment drive despite the coronavirus crisis.

Superior, which is a vocal supporter of apprenticeships and runs its own training academy, is preparing for its September intake.

It is using remote interviewing to overcome lockdown restrictions.

The family owned business, which makes O-rings and seals on Ferndown Industrial Estate, says it has both manufacturing and administration roles to fill.

The move comes despite reports that many apprenticeship providers were being forced to close or mothball their schemes. The Association of Employment and Learning Providers said up to 52,000 people could lose their apprenticeships.

Managing director Tim Brown said: “It is an incredibly unnerving time for many students, particularly for those who were due to complete exams this summer.

“We believe it is important to offer certainty and reassurance at this time to prospective apprentices, who may be concerned about how the coronavirus pandemic could impact their chances of securing an apprenticeship.

“Superior is actively seeking 2020 apprentices and will be using calculated grades. Our interview process will be a little different to our usual format but we will adapt and look at other options that will help us to find and appoint talented young people who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering or science.”

The Superior apprenticeship programme is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the National Apprenticeship Service, and applications are open to 18- to 24-year-olds with three A-levels at grade C or above. For students who were due to sit A-levels this summer, those with calculated exam grades above grade C will be considered for interview.

Apprentices will spend one year training at the Superior Academy, followed by a rotational placement in different areas of the business.

Apprenticeships require a minimum of two years’ commitment and up to six years for a masters’ qualification.

Mr Brown said: “We are committed to delivering the best possible experience to our apprentices. Our current intake are all working extremely hard during this unprecedented time, via remote learning or by working in our busy factory, helping us to deliver our components to some of the world’s finest manufacturing companies in a diverse range of sectors including medical, electronics, food and beverage, engineering and automotive.”