National Apprenticeship Week 2024 – Darren’s story

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we share the story of an employee who has completed a Unipart apprenticeship.

Darren Herbert, Principal Design & Development Engineer, recently achieved his Level 6 Improvement Leader Apprenticeship, which is delivered by Unipart’s Six Sigma experts in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University. This nationally-recognised apprenticeship qualification forms part of The Unipart Way Black Belt certification.

Unipart started teaching this as an Apprenticeship in 2022, which Darren is among the first delegates to have completed. Improvement leaders are expert practitioners of The Unipart Way and use their deep understanding of the Operational Excellence system to drive business benefits through continuous improvement and innovation, and to coach others to do the same.

Darren’s Story

Darren began his engineering career in 1995 with his first apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering. He then went on to obtain his ONC (Ordinary National Certificate) and HNC (Higher National Certificate), and achieved a 2:1 BEng Hons degree in The Management of Manufacturing Systems, all whilst working full time. His engineering career has taken him all over the world, and he’s recently reached his five-year anniversary at Unipart Manufacturing.

Darren said: “I’ve worked as a design engineer, manufacturing engineer, applications engineer and even a project manager, mainly in the automotive sector for businesses such as JLR and Bentley Motors. I’m now part of the research and development department within the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.”

Darren’s recent completion of his Level 6 Improvement Leader qualification has developed his skills even further. He explained why he took on this challenge, and how he is now reaping the rewards: “As an engineer, process improvement has always been integral to my work. Having completed Unipart’s Six Sigma GreenBelt certification, I was asked if I would like to progress onto the BlackBelt course. Once I found out it would be run as a level 6 Apprenticeship in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) it was a no-brainer.

“Although passing the course and being one of the first two people to achieve the certificate is rewarding, supporting the remaining cohort through their journey, mentoring colleagues, and delivering Six Sigma GreenBelt training has been the most fulfilling part.”

Darren explained how the support of his colleagues and The Unipart Way have helped him on his journey: “The support I received from Black Belt Mentors Rod Gordon & Sue Christelow, ARU Mentor Vanessa Knowles and Head of Six Sigma Alison Coleman was incredible.

“The Unipart Way, one of the reasons I joined Unipart, has significantly shaped my journey. It’s how we think, work and behave, to deliver our customer promise and grow the business further. Harnessing The Unipart Way helped me significantly in achieving my Level 6 Improvement Leader. Unipart really values training and development and pushes employees to seek continuous improvement – something I am happy to take advantage of.”

Unipart is committed to investing in its people, enabling them to fulfil their potential and build a bright future. Click here to discover more about career opportunities at Unipart.