Rafay Ali, the first apprentice welcomed in to the Precision Engineering division of the company has completed his four year apprenticeship.
Having been led down the A-Level route originally, Rafay was thankful to have been enrolled on the KMF apprenticeship scheme a year after leaving high school. He had quickly realised that an apprenticeship was more suitable to his goals and ambitions and the opportunity to be KMF's first precision engineer apprentice was one he couldn't pass up.
Rafay had experienced some of KMF's culture and understood the drive of the company as he'd also been one of the first to compete in the businesses' much coveted annual Young Engineer of the Year competition, in 2014.
The application process for a KMF apprenticeship is rigorous as it aims to recruit young people who will go on to progress well within the business. Rafay began the application process in January 2016, this included submitting his CV, passing the interview phase, taking a series of tests and completing one week of work experience.
Four years down the line, Rafay is thriving at KMF Precision Engineering and following the success of his Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture (Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering) he has now enrolled at Staffordshire University to further study for a degree apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering.
Rafay is completing a five year course at the university which will result in a Bachelor of Honours degree. He said: "I really appreciate the support KMF has always and continues to give me, especially as they're paying for my degree. It shows the level of trust they have in me."
Rafay thoroughly enjoys being a part of the KMF family and added: "I've had so many highlights in the past four years but I always really enjoy the team based exercises and the charity fundraisers. I take part in the Stoke Sleep Out Challenge every year and we raise £100 for the Stoke City Community Trust which helps to support rough sleepers and homelessness.
"The awards nights are also brilliant and we've had a great trip to Luchon in the South of France. But this is just naming a few. There are so many fantastic opportunities not only to develop in your career but to take part in team building activities."
Rafay graduated from St Margaret Ward School with 11 GCSEs including As in Mathematics and French. There he joined Stoke Sixth Form College to study A-Level Mathematics, Chemistry and Geology before finding his true calling through his apprenticeship with KMF.
The opportunity to offer an apprenticeship in precision engineering came in 2016 after KMF acquired Greenway Pepper. The scheme had already been a huge success in other divisions of the business and there was no doubt it could continue to succeed in the precision division.
Rafay's first year went so well, further investment was made in Precision Engineering Apprenticeships and students now have a dedicated tutor who is available to work alongside the young engineers to further develop their skills and confidence.
Rafay is excited to grow his career at KMF and aspires to move into the quality function. He added: "Because I have the hands on engineering and machining experience I am in a good place to join the team in Quality & Inspection. With Covid-19 I've had to go back to helping in the machining department which will benefit me further, giving me more skills and knowledge that I can apply to my role.
"I'm looking forward to applying the additional manufacturing principals that I'm learning at university to my role at KMF. I'm also keen to start programming jobs alongside my work in the operations side.
"I want to start working with more materials and train to work on Mazak machines as that equipment is the future in engineering for our industry. The sector I take particular interest in and I want to spend more time working with is aerospace."
Rafay has truly flourished at KMF and has a bright future with the company. The feeling is mutual and he adds: "I couldn't recommend an apprenticeship with KMF more. It's a supportive place that has great career opportunities."