Image – From L to R: Agnes Dralus from the surface mount technology lab and Andrew Thorpe, chairman both from Thorlux; Lt Col Patrick Holcroft, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire; HRH Duke of Kent and Mike Allcock, managing director of Thorlux.

On Thursday 25 May, 2017, HRH The Duke of Kent visited Thorlux Lighting in Redditch and opened the new luminaire assembly area. On arrival, the Duke was greeted by Thorlux chairman, Andrew Thorpe; managing director, Mike Allcock and the Thorlux directors. The Duke then met apprentices – both old and new – and unveiled a plaque to celebrate the occasion.

Speaking about the royal visit, Ian Mulhall, technical director said: “Like Thorlux, HRH, the Duke of Kent is a great believer in the power of apprenticeships. On the day, he tested one of our new luminaires. Every element of the test rig has been developed and built – mechanically, electrically and electronically – by past and present apprentices.

“The business is growing – both in sales and team numbers – on the back of strong demand for all products in the Thorlux range. In particular, our intelligent lighting systems give superior performance in terms of lighting, energy-consumption, reliability and savings in the overall cost of ownership.

“Each year we consider the business’ needs and our apprenticeship programme evolves to meet those needs. 28 years ago, I started as an apprentice and now serve on the board as did Mike Allcock, Thorlux’s managing director, who joined six years earlier. So you can see, we really believe in hiring and developing apprentices.

“In my view, an engineer who attains a degree starting from an apprenticeship is far more well-rounded than one who follows a full-time engineering course. Apprentices accelerate their learning by working in each department and combining the theory with the practical. There’s the added bonus that they are earning while they’re learning. That’s why we take on a minimum of two to three a year and 40 remain in the business today having moved onwards and upwards.

“In our 80 years of trading, Thorlux remains a highly-trusted brand and the skills built through apprenticeships, coupled with being a flexible, family-owned enterprise, remain key factors in our continued growth.”