Vanessa Dos Santos, Human Resources Generalist, Venture Aerobearings
Apprentice Marquel Rolack-Smalls (right) learns how to run CNC machines with guidance from bearing technicians and engineering staff.
EDGE: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Vanessa Dos Santos: Venture Aerobearings was established in 2007 as a joint venture between SKF and GE Aviation. We produce aerospace bearings for commercial aircraft engines. We are a “teaming” shop that consists of 70-plus employees. We truly believe in teamwork, and we think that encouraging everyone to share their thoughts and ideas is the best way to operate a world-class business.
EDGE: What kind of apprenticeship program do you have?
VDS: We currently have one youth apprentice who works on the production lines producing actual engine bearings. He runs the CNC machines under guidance from our bearing technicians and engineering staff. This role will give him a good baseline for pursuing his career goals in manufacturing.
EDGE: What would you consider to be the top positive outcome of having an apprenticeship program?
VDS: We take pride in introducing students to the manufacturing environment and showing them the skills and techniques necessary to produce something that people can and will rely on. As a business, it gives us an opportunity to showcase our shop and potentially develop future leaders.
EDGE: Is there anything that you would you like to highlight about your apprenticeship program?
VDS: Our apprenticeship program gives the student real-life experience running machines, adhering to quality standards, following a process, and working in a true team environment. Marquel Rolack-Smalls is an excellent student and has been a great addition to our team. He joined our team in August 2015, and has since been supporting our bearing technicians producing parts on our production lines.
EDGE: Can you think of a word or phrase that best describes Apprenticeship Carolina™?
VDS: “Experience is an essential piece of true learning.” Our schools, especially our teachers, do a wonderful job of preparing our students for the real world, but pairing that learning in the classroom with real-life application magnifies that learning and gives the student an edge as he or she prepares for their career.
EDGE: What do you like most about apprenticeship?
VDS: While our apprentice has hopefully learned a great deal from us, he has also brought a renewed sense of pride to our team and what we do. Sometimes we forget how awesome it is to produce parts for jet engines, and seeing him come in with such enthusiasm for working makes our teams that much better.
EDGE: What is the best positive outcome of having an apprenticeship program?
VDS: As businesses, we are always looking for top talent. Being a part of an apprenticeship program gives you an opportunity to build the future of not only your business but also manufacturing. Most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to have an impact on a young person’s life, and that is truly the biggest win.