DEVIZES company Cross Manufacturing prides itself on taking on apprentices and is asking school leavers to apply for this year’s programme.

The company originated in Bath and one apprentice there, Ralph Flower, started up the Devizes factory in 1962.

The company employs about 400 staff at its factory on Hopton Industrial Estate and is a world leading maker of aerospace seals, aircraft piston rings and custom seal rings for aircraft engines, steam turbines, vehicle turbochargers and control valves.

It typically takes on between four and eight apprentices a year and this year plans to take on between six and eight.

Clair Beaty-Pownall, human resources manager, said: “At Cross we pride ourselves on our apprentice programme, which continues to be at the bedrock of our company.

“It is a ‘hands-on’ approach, craft based. What we do is unique as the apprentices are moulded to support the business.

“Due to the lack of practical at college we run in house training. There are few craft specific graduates.”

The company is offering a three-year apprenticeship starting in July or August and seek a mix of both GCSE and A-level students who show interest in science, maths, engineering and design technology.

Apprentices will earn a salary working with experienced engineers and getting practical experience of processes such as milling, turning, welding and hand work. Apprentices will also produce reports and will be trained in understanding technical data and drawings.

During the apprenticeship time is spent attending college on a day release basis to gain an industry recognised qualification.

One of the longest serving employees, who started as an apprentice in the tool room, is Danny Squire, who is now a director with 36 years at the firm.

He said: “I left Devizes School at 16 and I wanted to join the Army or join an engineering company.

“The school gave me addresses of companies to write to. I had done a week’s work experience at Cross at school and they took me on.”

Mr Squire did an initial four-year apprenticeship and a two-year technician course.

He said: “Once you have got the skill it’s a trade forever. Apprenticeships are a good starting point to get a foothold in the industry.”

Cross is holding open evenings on Wednesday March 19 and Thursday March 20 at its north site factory at 6pm.

Would-be apprentices can talk to current ones and see the factory.

To register visit and complete and return an application form found under the ‘news’ heading. For details call (01380) 722421.