PETER BARRON continues a series marking the centenary of Cummins Engines by looking at what makes the company stand out as an important local employer

AS well as manufacturing engines that have powered the world for 100 years, Cummins also takes pride in building a reputation as a caring and enlightened employer.

Whether it is enabling the existing workforce to develop their careers, or identifying employees of the future, one of Cummins’ core values is about caring for its staff and recognising their huge value in the past, present and the future.

It is a belief summed up by the visionary J. Irwin Miller, who joined Cummins in 1934 and became chairman from 1951 to 1977.

Mr Miller said: "We understand the fact that we must give a machine the best care and the best treatment if we are to receive from it the best work. We have sometimes shied away from the similar fact that we must give a person the best care and the best treatment if we are to receive from him the best work."

That philosophy certainly applies in 2019 at Cummins’ Darlington factory, where Nicola Teasdale, Deputy Human Resources Lead, says development is a key focus, with several Early Career programmes running across the site, as well as multiple growth opportunities for the workforce.

Cummins has more than 110 Darlington-based employees – 10 per cent of the workforce – completing a company-funded formal qualification, including HNC, HND, Degree Apprenticeships, MBA’s, Professional Accreditations and ILM Certifications.

“This is a demonstration of how the company fulfils its cores values, enabling employees to reach their full potential,” says Nicola.

Cummins also appreciates that returning to work after a career break can be a challenging experience, so in recent years the company has launched a “Repower - Return to Work Programme”.

“The employees who have joined Cummins on this programme have relished the opportunity to once again contribute their specialist expertise and build up their confidence in a technical setting,” says Nicola.

While rightly proud of its illustrious history, Cummins is always looking to the future by working with local schools on multiple initiatives to encourage and inspire students to seek opportunities with the company.

Work experience placements are offered and the company also attends careers fairs with information about Early Career programmes, as well as arranging tours of the Darlington plant.

Meanwhile, Cummins delivers STEM specific activities at the Darlington site and at schools, including:

  • Pinewood Derby: a fun and fast-paced race in which competitors combine design and manufacturing skills.
  • Greenpower Education Trust, where students are challenged to design, build and race an electric car under the guidance of Cummins employees.
  • 2-Cylinder Lego Build, where students learn how to build an engine out of Lego.
  • Engineering in Schools allows students to learn and apply engineering principles and mathematics as well as learning manufacturing processes.

At Cummins Darlington, there are three early career programmes: Apprenticeships, Placement Students, and Graduates.

Individuals can join an apprenticeship from 16 and must have a desire to learn and work in their chosen field, whether that be within the engine plant’s maintenance team, or as an Assistant Accountant as part of the finance team.

Placement Students join Cummins after two years of university study and are fully immersed in the organisation with meaningful projects from their first week of enrolment.

The two-year Graduate Development Programme offers individuals with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees the environment where structured development opportunities lead to long term, exciting and flexible career pathways. As well as building their functional knowledge, graduates receive either a professional accreditation linked to their role, or a leadership and management certification.

“Cummins looks for employees who are highly motivated individuals, innovative, driven to succeed, and have a passion to challenge the status quo,” says Nicola.

A century after it is founded, Cummins is giving its employees the opportunities to develop as future leaders of a business that makes an impact across the world.

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