Our apprentices’ visit Bulgaria

Recently, four apprentices from our Stalbridge factory, Benjamin Puddick (19), Scott Broadway (20), George Millson (23) and Jacob Bailey (22), spent two weeks at our Plovdiv factory in Bulgaria on a work experience/cultural exchange.

This visit provided them with an opportunity to experience how things are done differently at William Hughes Bulgaria. The apprentices received training on equipment not used in our UK factory, whilst they reciprocated with training on new kit being introduced into our Plovdiv unit, such as the 3D laser scanner. Processes learnt included different bend types and the use of a BT4.2 double-sided machine. Scott learnt how to use the BT3.2 multi-head wire former/bender of which there are 11 in Bulgaria.

The main difference experienced by the apprentices was their exposure to mass production, Plovdiv is 3 times as busy as our Dorset factory and relies on the EFACS Internal Scheduling System for production scheduling. Everything is bigger – bigger wire, more components and more automated equipment with the Plovdiv factory running 24 hours a day. All products are subjected to individual quality control checks. Working on a variety of machines in hot temperatures certainly gave the boys a taste of life in southeast Europe.

When not working, the apprentices had the opportunity to take part in team building and bonding exercises, going out in the evenings with their Bulgarian hosts, trying out wake boarding, visiting the Buzludzha Monument and exploring historical Plovdiv with its colosseum and other Roman remains.