Fujifilm apprentice scoops Rising Star award

Winner Lee Suter

A former East Kent College student has scooped a top award from one of Thanet’s largest employers, Fujifilm.

Mechanical Engineering apprentice Lee Suter won the Manufacturing Champions ‘Rising Star’ Award for 2016.

The employees put forward for the ‘Rising Star’ award have to demonstrate outstanding performance, innovation and teamwork. This award celebrates the apprentice, graduate or manager under the age of 25 who has made the most impressive start to his or her manufacturing career.

Lee has been at the Broadstairs’ firm for four years and gained his Level 3 Mechanical Engineering qualification at East Kent College last year. The 20-year-old is

He said: “Fujifilms is a very good company to work for and I enjoy my role maintaining the site. I also found the college course really helpful – particularly when we moved into the new Future building which provides excellent facilities. My course lecturers were extremely knowledgeable and supportive.”

The awards also showcase the exciting and dynamic careers on offer in UK manufacturing. This is demonstrated by the career path taken by Fujifilm’s Continuous Improvement Manager, Gary Burgess.

Mr Burgess said: “I have been with the company for 29 years and started as a 16-year-old sticking labels and have been able to grow with the company during my career. I now lead the Continuous Improvement Team, where we challenge how things are done and endeavour to make all areas more efficient.”

Lee impressed the judges after used an inspirational method of moving a vast digital packing machine into a new location. To completely dismantle the machine would have taken months and the complexity of reconfiguring it would have been extremely difficult and time consuming.

But Lee thought of dividing  the machine into three sections and he then designed a trolley to deliver it. He was assisted by fellow apprentice, Josh Cortice.  The 25-year-old  completed his Level 3 Electrical Engineering at the College and helped with the electrical part of the project.

Fuji has 330 employees providing speciality printing ink systems for wide format applications and exports to 86 countries around the world.