Name: Steve Drummond
Company Name: Electrogenic Ltd
What is your favourite heritage vehicle and why? I fall in love with nearly every car that we convert to all electric drive. However I think my all-time love is the Citroen DS. When it was launched, it was almost like something from another planet compared with the technology of the day, and it still has a wow factor today. What I admire about the car is the purity of this engineering vision and the way it was implemented almost without compromise. The hydro pneumatic suspension, steering and brakes have an elegant simplicity of concept, the car is designed to disassemble front and rear with only four bolts, open steering wheel is truly beautiful and the car itself is like something from the Jetsons. Lastly it is one of our proudest conversions: a true triumph of engineering for our team, who develops an electric/electronic pump system to enable the now wholly electric DS to glide like a space ship
Can you tell me about your company, its history, what do you pride yourselves on? At Electrogenic, we converts classic vehicles to all electric drive. We do so using technology we have developed ourselves, and we do it with style! We started the company just over three years ago, spent two years doing research and development and then started trading in February 2020 – just in time for the global pandemic! Our aim is to make clean, green electric classic vehicles which drives as they should have done, had the technology been available when it was first manufactured. Our customers say we are unique because we have a genuine environmental ethos, we have our own technology, and we love the cars! What we pride ourselves on is producing beautiful, clean vehicles which are a joy to drive.
Why have you chosen to invest in apprentices? We take our investments in our young people very seriously – both apprentices and graduate level appointees. We inhabit a part of the automotive industry where doing things the way they have always been done does not work! The skills we need a hard to come by and it makes a lot of sense for us to train serious, motivated young people who are serious about their careers and who can grow with us as we develop the company. Investing in apprentices is challenging for a small company like ours - in paying for them when they are at college, but also to ensure they get the right support, training and oversight when they are in our workshop - but we find the rewards repay the investment many times over.
What are the benefits or working with apprentices? Are there any which have surprised you? Our apprentices do us proud. They are great ambassadors for the company, they work hard, they apply themselves and they bring freshness and vigour to the workshop. Our two apprentices, both of whom are at the Heritage Sills Academy, have now been promoted to form one of our vehicle teams. This means they become responsible for a car from the moment it enters the workshop to the moment it leaves, and everything that happens to it in between. Both of our apprentices have also expressed an interest in learning the electrical and electronics side of what we do, and both of them can now build battery boxes for example without supervision. This frees up our electrical specialists to work on high-value activities, so it's a gain all round.
What advice would give to a young person looking to work in the heritage vehicle industry? Be really clear in your own mind what it is that you want to be doing within the wide range of possibilities that exist in heritage vehicle industry, research the employers that can give you that opportunity, and study at the Heritage Skills Academy!
Why did you choose us to deliver the apprentice programme, how did you find out about HSA? We found out about the HSA because we came to Bicester Heritage to look around! We met the team, did some further research and decided to place our apprentices with HSA. It has proven to be a really fruitful relationship.
How have you found HSA from initial contact, through to placing an apprentice? We have found the HSA placement process to be very smooth and easy to navigate.
What have you been most impressed with (HSA and your apprentice(s)? Our apprentices have really come on leaps and bounds since they started studying at HSA. The teaching is focused and effective, we get good feedback from the academy regarding the performance of our apprentices and the HSA visits not only our apprentices but also us in our works both to check that we are doing what we need to do to make sure our apprentices are properly supported but also that the HSA training delivers what we need as a business. What is most impressed me about HSA is the sheer drive and energy to explore new ideas and to develop mutual opportunity.
What are your future plans for apprentices and developing the business? The business is expanding steadily, we are promoting our existing apprentices to more senior positions within the company, and are already looking for new apprentices to further round out the team. How are young people are our future and we will continue to invest in new apprentices as the business grows and matures.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? We were very proud to win the small employer award at the Oxfordshire apprenticeship awards. The fact that we were able to do so reflects on the excellent contribution to our business of our apprentices and this is in no small part to the Heritage Skills Academy.