Rolls-Royce Seeks New Blood
These days, many of us decry the decline of craftsmanship. Industrial society is very adept at manufacturing thousands of perfectly acceptable items, but it is less proficient at creating individual pieces of uncommon quality. That, however, is just what luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce seeks to do, and in this era of mass production, it is looking to create a new generation of highly skilled craftsmen. The company -- based in Goodwood, England -- will soon begin to recruit its newest class of apprentices to build on its century-old tradition of quality workmanship. The successful applicants who make it through the rigorous winnowing process will join the apprenticeship program at the end of August and work alongside skilled craftspeople in the paint, wood, leather, motor vehicle, engineering and business areas.
Launched in 2006, the company’s apprenticeship program provides young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 the opportunity to train with the best, most talented members of the legendary carmaker’s workforce. And it is far from a quick on-the-job training effort. The apprenticeships can last for up to four years and involve extensive work under the keen supervision of master craftsmen, many with decades of experience. In addition, apprentices study to achieve nationally recognized qualification levels in their individual areas of emphasis. The opportunity to join the company following a successful apprenticeship is a possibility, but Rolls-Royce warns only the best apprentices are selected.
The young workers who will join Rolls-Royce this year will arrive at an exciting time. The ultra-luxury carmaker is enjoying unprecedented success, including record sales results in 2010, despite a global economic malaise. The manufacturer recently joined the move to electric vehicles by unveiling 102EX Phantom Experimental Electric (EE) at the Geneva International Motor Show. So, apprentices who join the company this year will have broader fields to work in than ever before.
“We are delighted to announce the start of recruitment for this year’s apprenticeship program,” says Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “This clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development and training of young people in the U.K. manufacturing industry. On completion of the program, our new apprentices will be ideally positioned to take advantage of the unique opportunities available at Rolls-Royce.”
Compared with the entering class at an Ivy League school like Harvard University, the apprentice class each year at Rolls-Royce is tiny. In 2010, only 35 young men and women were employed with the company on industrial placements ranging in duration from six to 12 months. This year, Rolls-Royce expects the class to be larger, but not by much. In addition to the apprenticeships, the company also runs a successful graduate program with new positions made available each year.
Since the launch of the apprenticeship program in 2006, more than 30 Rolls-Royce apprentices have either joined the company or are in the process of joining the company as full employees, following successful completion of the program. Potential candidates for all Rolls-Royce Motor Cars positions should apply online at: Rolls-RoyceMotorcars.com.
Tom Ripley is a Driving Today contributing editor who writes about the automobile industry and the human condition from his home in Villeperce, France.