Crossrail apprentices on track
Transport minister praises company hiring enthusiastic young people
TRANSPORT minister Lord Tariq Ahmad has visited young apprentices at a Hayes factory involved in the Crossrail project.
The Tory peer, 47, was at Lee Warren Fabrication and Design Ltd on Friday, July 17, a family-run small and medium enterprise (SME) which has a contract to design, manufacture and install platform screens at the Bond Street Crossrail station.
The factory is working around the clock to fulfil its role in phase two of the Crossrail project by the end of this year.
Lord Ahmad toured the workshop floor and viewed a full size mock-up of the Bond Street platform edge screen, before meeting some of the company’s current and former apprentices.
Lord Ahmad. a leading businessman and former Wimbledon councillor, said: “I met three different apprentices with different backgrounds. I think the exciting opportunity here is how we’re taking young people who might not have thought about a particular role within the scope of manufacturing or engineering and that we’re actually reviving that through projects such as Crossrail.”
The company’s contract with Crossrail has supported more than 50 jobs and seven apprenticeships for local workers and young people.
Speaking of the Lee Warren factory, Lord Ahmad added: “I think they have the kind of ethos we need for more companies involved in these kind of projects.
“Taking apprentices on shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise to fulfil some government criteria, it’s about taking people on who are enthused, eager to learn, to ensure they get the training both on the job and in the classroom so they can actually skill themselves up to the benefit of the company and ultimately for the benefit of the country as well.”
Lee Warren has almost 60 employees working on the construction, including the installation team.
Following the completion of tunnelling in June, Crossrail has now moved into the next phase including the fit-out of stations, tunnels and platforms to make the line operational.
Alex Pollock, production director of Lee Warren, said: “We built the mockup six weeks ago and will be entering full production by the middle of next week and will continue right through to November, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
One of the apprentices, Ryan Levin, came through the Crossrail scheme and has been at the Lee Warren factory for about a year.
He said: “The scheme gave me great opportunities to learn, grow and develop while earning some money at the same time. I came with very little skills and over the year I’ve been developing a great standard of work.
“I hope to keep developing myself and go on the the next Level 3 college course and work my way up from there. It’s fantastic and I know it’s great to be involved in such a great company.”
Crossrail’s full services will begin in 2019. It will increase the capacity of the capital’s transport network, with 200 million passengers expected to use the service every year.
n EAGER: Lord Ahmad with apprentice Nile Ashlin