College apprentice assists with NHS ventilator production

22nd July 2020

An engineering apprentice from Solihull College & University Centre has been working with engineering firm PP Control & Automation (PPCANDA) to help with the design and manufacture of breathing aids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apprentice Marcus Wesson, 24 from Nuneaton, completed a range of tasks including Loom/Cable Drawings for the Production team, sourcing the tooling required and helping design Jig Boards and test rigs which allowed for the automated testing of cables. The objective was to assist assembly with a quick turnaround to support the high volume of orders.

Marcus is studying on the Level 4 Apprenticeship in Engineering with the College whilst working in the industry. He comments: “The apprenticeship is highly engaging and enjoyable. I feel I am progressing within the field of engineering. Our Company actively sought to get involved with Ventilator challenge as our facilities and skill set were specific to the requirements. As part of the engineering department, I was asked to take an active role to help the project go as smoothly as possible.”

PP Control & Automation aimed to produce more than 25,000 electrical harnesses as part of ‘VentilatorChallengeUK’, with assemblies being delivered daily to keep up with demand.

“This experience was a privilege” Marcus states. “I was able to use my skills to help the frontline staff of the NHS save lives. It was challenging as we had to move very quickly and adapt to the ongoing situation, none of which could have been done without the help and support of all employees at PPCANDA.”

Marcus’s Assessor Momodou Ceesay adds: “I am pleased to see his company have joined other companies, including Formula 1, to manufacture ventilators for the NHS. Marcus utilised his skills & knowledge gained from college and work. He was able to source the correct materials from suppliers and support the high volume of orders from the NHS. The College looks forward to Marcus’s successful future.”

Marcus hopes to move into a more senior engineering role which focuses on design and automated testing in the future.

Marcus in the workshop measuring
Find out more about the College's Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships