As part of National Apprentice Week 2022, we have caught up with Clive Hickman OBE, CEO at MTC…
Can you briefly tell us about your career to date?
I started my career as an apprentice working with fire protection (sprinkler system design and installer) and completed my ONC on a day release basis at a local technical college.
From there I went to University to study mechanical engineering and then into industry working first at GKN.
I then completed my PhD and then worked at Rover Group in product design and development (powertrain) and became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
I moved to the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) as Chief Engineer Powertrain and then became Engineering director and latterly Group Operations Director .
Whilst at MIRA I studied part-time for my MBA and I was also elected as a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. I also spent time in Korea and USA.
I then moved to Ricardo where I held several roles culminating as Managing Director Ricardo UK Ltd and a member of the Plc Board.
In 2005 I joined Tata Motors India, where I was head of engineering and established the Tata Motors European Technology Centre in UK.
In 2010 I was invited to establish the Manufacturing Technology Centre and over the last 11 years have build the business from an embryonic idea into a £100m business with 800 employees. During this time I was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, I have been awarded 5 honorary doctorates. In 2021 I was awarded the RAE Sir Frank Whittle gold medal (one of the most prestigious engineering awards in the UK) and in the 2022 New Years Honours List I was awarded an OBE for services to Engineering, manufacturing and technology development.
How important was your apprenticeship to your career progression?
Without my apprenticeship I could not have achieved any of the things I have outlined above in my career: the apprenticeship was the springboard for my career.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
It is really difficult to single out one achievement but probably my time at MTC where I have led the development of a high performing engineering team (in which I include all the necessary support professions).
How important are apprenticeships to the MTC?
Apprenticeships are vital to MTC – if we did not train apprentices in the advanced manufacturing technologies developed at MTC then those technologies would be destined to remain at MTC and not in the wider industry, and we would still have a skills gap in the UK in 10 years time.
What would your advice be to someone considering an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship opens the doors to so many opportunities. Look for opportunities and never step back from a challenge. Be inquisitive and never stop learning (there is no such thing as a stupid question – only stupid answers). Have confidence, believe in yourself and stay agile so that you can spot the opportunities.