Komatsu unearths superstar apprentice

A RISING star of Komatsu UK’s workforce has claimed the prestigious accolade “Apprentice of the Year”.

HR Assistant, Charys Urwin, 22, was awarded the honour following outstanding work at college and her progress since joining the company as a new apprentice just over two years ago.

Tutors at New College Durham nominated Charys for her excellent academic results and the enthusiasm she has displayed in her HR role at Komatsu’s Birtley plant.

“Joining Komatsu is the best thing I have ever done,” said Charys. “I don’t want to sound cliché, but I feel that ever since I walked through the door, I have been helped to settle into my role, supported in my learning and challenged to keep progressing.”

Charys, from Whickham, was named “Advanced Human Resource Support Apprentice of the Year” in a ceremony at New College Durham. She attended the college from 2017, recently completing her CIPD Level 3 in Human Resource Practice.

Tutor Rebecca Dodds put Charys forward for the honour, which was decided by a panel of tutors at the college.

“It was such an unexpected honour to win,” said Charys. “I had worked hard and thoroughly enjoyed the course, but never for one moment thought I’d be getting an award for it.

“It’s been an excellent two years at Komatsu and it feels like it’s flown by. The working environment at Komatsu is brilliant. Everyone is really supportive, and there are the additional benefits we enjoy via the Sports and Social Club, which organises days out and various events for employees. I love it here.”

Tracey Bowman, HR Director at Komatsu, said it had been a pleasure working with Charys, since her recruitment. She outlined how the firm’s apprenticeship scheme has been the reason why the business has discovered so many talented apprentices over the last 30 years.

Tracey said: “It is great to see someone as dedicated and hard-working as Charys gaining recognition for her efforts. It’s a real pleasure working with apprentices and helping them develop and grow, but it is especially rewarding when someone like Charys comes along and grabs every opportunity that comes her way with genuine enthusiasm.

“Komatsu is committed to apprentices because we know the benefits they can provide to almost every area of the business. The majority of our apprentices stay with us, progressing into permanent roles in everything from Welding to HR, with many previous apprentices progressing to more senior roles too.”

Komatsu UK currently has 24 apprentices, and recently recruited 10 during 2019. The company is looking to take on more apprentices in 2020.

Charys added: “When I spotted the apprenticeship at Komatsu, I grabbed it with both hands and haven’t regretted it for a single moment.

“The job is so varied. I can be helping to organise a factory event in the morning, speaking to people on the other side of the world at lunchtime and helping introduce a new time and attendance system in the afternoon.

“I would encourage anyone to look at opportunities in Komatsu. There’s a perception that it’s all factory-based, but there are also many roles in the office, equally important to the business. Finance, Purchasing, IT – we all receive training to the highest standard.”

Komatsu UK’s workforce

Charys Urwin with her award at Komatsu UK.


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The Komatsu UK Assembly line
Komatsu UK Ltd. is a major production facility for construction and mining equipment in the Komatsu group. Located in Birtley (UK), near Newcastle in North East England, Komatsu UK proudly provides high quality and reliable products. Komatsu UK currently employs approx. 400 staff and has an extensive product portfolio, featuring 17 models. It currently exports mainly to Europe and North Africa.