09 December 2021

Sony UK TEC Crowned Make UK Awards Regional Finalists

Following this years’ first in-person Make UK Manufacturing Awards since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) celebrate regional wins from two of its dedicated apprentices, as well as for the facility itself.

The 2021 awards which took place in November 2021, were aimed at highlighting the resilience, determination, and ingenuity of the UK’s manufacturing community within which, UK TEC remain committed to nurturing undeniable talent.

At the awards and regional dinner held at the Celtic Manor Hotel, Sony UK TEC celebrated the successes of 2nd-year Software Engineer Apprentice, Scott Roberts, who was crowned winner in the Rising Star category, and 4th year Product Support Engineer Thomas Davies, who scooped the Endeavor award. The Pencoed facility was also named winner of the Developing Future Talent and Innovation awards.

Business Apprentice: Rising Star Award

Name: Scott Roberts

This award recognised Scott for seizing the training and development opportunities presented to him. Scott’s experience demonstrated a significant contribution to support Sony’s business activities and his potential for the remainder of the programme.

About Scott…

What is your education/work background?

I am currently based in Advanced Manufacturing Research Operations Centre (AMROC) at Sony UK TEC, and my route into the Apprenticeship Programme was through a work placement which I undertook during my studies at Bridgend College in 2018. I spent some time with the Information Systems Department (ISD,) learning about computer hardware and software deployment whilst gaining work experience for my Level 3 course. It was during this time that I was put forward for the Apprenticeship Programme.

How did you feel when you found out you had gained a place on the programme?

Whilst on holiday in West Wales, I got the email saying that I’d gained a place on the Apprenticeship Programme, and I vividly remember being over the moon.

What is a typical day like on the programme?

During the working week, I sometimes work full-time, and on some days, I am split between work and college.

What have you gained from the programme?

Every day you are surrounded by talented and experienced colleagues, so you are constantly learning new skills from them. There are always plenty of opportunities to ask questions, and as an apprentice, you are always encouraged to try new things. Being on the Apprenticeship Programme has enabled me to increase my depth of knowledge and understanding on various topics that I would have otherwise only skimmed the surface of. Aside from knowledge and experience, I have also gained confidence, which is something I have struggled with in the past.

How will the programme help you with your future goals?

This apprenticeship will help me to continue to develop key skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and communication as well as technical skills such as software development and configuration. I believe these are crucial in working towards obtaining my dream career.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for the programme?

To anyone thinking of applying to the apprenticeship programme, I’d say just go for it!

The Make UK Awards judges commented on Scott’s achievement: “This apprentice implemented a new system in the warehouse for electronic component repairs. This significantly improved efficiencies for the technicians and involved the individual taking the initiative to learn programming languages including Python and PHP. They are clearly a dedicated and talented apprentice.”

Apprentice Endeavour Award

Name: Thomas Davies

This award recognised Thomas for his hard work and dedication despite adverse circumstances. It acknowledged his determination to participate in the programme to his highest ability and highlights progress achieved on his journey.

About Tom…

Tom overcame many personal circumstances over the course of his apprenticeship, but despite this, he continues to work hard and is dedicated to achieving the best he can. Tom suffered from seizures in and outside of work, which had a major impact on him both personally and professionally. Tom embraces his role positively and always approaches every task/problem with enthusiasm and confidence, treating every challenge as an opportunity to learn.

What is your education/work background?

I attended Maesteg Comprehensive School, followed by Bridgend College (studied BTEC Level 3 Electrical Engineering). Prior to my apprenticeship, I worked on a building site wiring new-build houses. I started my apprenticeship in September 2017. 

How did you feel when you found out you had gained a place on the programme?

I was shocked but also excited and felt privileged to be given such a great opportunity. I couldn’t wait to get started!

What is a typical day like on the programme?

There is no ‘typical’ day, any day could bring new challenges and new opportunities to progress your education and further yourself as an individual.

What have you gained from the programme?

Apart from the Level 3 & HNC qualification, I have gained a lot more confidence in myself and a lot of knowledge from working with experienced engineers and ex-apprentices who have been in my position.

How will the programme help you with your future goals?

The apprenticeship programme has put me in good stead for the future as I believe I now have the Sony values that are required to succeed in the business. My goals are simple – just to be the best version of myself that I can be, whether that’ll be doing the best I can on a project/task or just to be a good person to others. If I do that then there’s no reason why I can’t keep progressing my career and continue moving up the ladder.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for the programme?

DO IT!! Once you start you won’t look back. Earning whilst learning is great. There are countless opportunities to gain qualifications and knowledge whilst doing an apprenticeship and if you put your mind to it and work hard, then the future is all yours.

This award is to recognise apprentices who have engaged with their programme despite adversities, to achieve to their highest abilities and show great progress with their programme. The judges’ comments were: “This apprentice has admirably overcome a number of obstacles, showing resilience and sheer grit to complete their training. Despite health setbacks, he has diligently persevered with the apprenticeship and has found adjustments to allow him to flourish within the company. His determination and positive outlook is something to look up to.”

 

Developing Future Talent & Innovation Awards

At the awards ceremony, Sony UK TEC was crowned regional finalist for Developing Future Talent and Innovation.

The Developing Future Talent award recognised those that have done the most to promote diversity, develop talent and build skills amongst their employees and increase the knowledge of engineering and manufacturing careers within the community. The Pencoed-based facility onboarded 8 apprentices on 6 September 2021, and 4 graduates on 13 September 2021. An additional 2 graduates were very recently onboarded, demonstrating the teams focus on nurturing talent and inspiring future leaders to explore and push the boundaries of the many exciting technological opportunities that lay ahead.

The Make UK Awards judging panel sighted: "This company is focused on improving the workforce's skills and addressing succession concerns regarding current employees and the UK skills shortage in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and creative subjects. They developed a series of programmes targeted at different age groups, from schools to universities and adults, accounting for the way information is presented, the amount of technical detail and the language used in working within their local communities in South Wales. To date, more than 15,000 learners have engaged, and the company’s own workforce is trained to be mentors to their apprentices and graduates.”

The Innovation award, on the other hand, looked to celebrate the innovations executed through new products, processes, markets, and business models, which have all led to greater productivity, efficiency, and business growth, within the last three years.

The judges said: “This company has some really ambitious goals here. Delivering on a 30% capacity increase and a 20% decrease in costs is admirable and with the added bonus of a really good team effort and employee engagement. What’s next to come in a few years with reference to business growth, greater profitability, and improved efficiency will be exciting to see.” 

 

What’s Next?

The team have been invited to attend video interviews for national judging this month, where winners from all 5 regions will compete for the chance to be crowned national winner of each category. Results of the national judging will be announced at the National Gala Dinner in London on 27 January 2022.

Janis Richard, Region Director for Make UK in Wales, said: “These awards are a testament to the fantastic companies and individuals working within engineering and manufacturing. The sector remains crucial for creating wealth across Wales, and as we re-build our economy, there will be a bright future for companies such as Sony and all of the apprentices that have been recognised in the awards.”

Sony UK Technology Centre are particularly proud of its role in developing both specialists and leaders for the next generation, which support its ever-diversifying operation. It’s an amazing time to be part of the Sony family, the ability to adapt, innovate and embrace new technologies has never been so prominent given the challenges faced over the past year. This is testimony to the agile, highly skilled and committed workforce at Sony Pencoed.

UK TEC Senior People Department Manager, Cecilia Fritz, said: “We are delighted to have had such great success at these prestigious industry awards. At Sony UK TEC we are committed to seeking and developing our Team Players to become the next generation of innovators. Our apprentices drive creativity, originality, and growth across the company, so it is only right they get the recognition they deserve. It has been a pleasure for us to play a role in this year’s awards both in terms of these wins and with being a sponsor to help to highlight the invaluable work of Wales’ industry-leading manufacturing sector.”

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