Innovative approach to meeting the skills challenge leads to Made in the Midlands Award

Pioneering an employer-led approach to training has helped the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) secure a major Made in the Midlands accolade.

The state-of-the-art training centre, with bases in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury, beat off the challenge of Tesco Maintenance, the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre to win the Manufacturing Apprentice/Training Scheme Award.

It recognises 18 months of continual growth that has seen over 100 apprentices recruited, 200 upskilling opportunities delivered and the launch of its own Engineering Club.

The latter opens up over £4m of technology and equipment to the supply chain to use on a subscription basis and has contributed to a number of new products being launched.

Matthew Smallwood, MCMT Centre Manager in Bridgnorth, commented: “We heard from one of the keynote speakers on the night how we couldn’t wait for Government to answer the skills shortage.

“Well that’s exactly what we have been doing since November 2017 through our consortium of Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall, In-Comm Training and Salop Design & Engineering.”

He added: “This employer-led approach has ensured that the apprenticeships and the courses we provide are directly suited to what manufacturers in the region want – importantly, we’re continually adding new options in response to business feedback.

“The Made in the Midlands Award is recognition for all of the team, our partners and the firms and apprentices who are doing their bit to bridge the skills gap.”

Organised by Insider Media, the gala dinner highlighted the importance the region plays in UK industry and there were a number of rallying calls for firms to embrace Industry 4.0, innovation and, importantly, take responsibility for driving the education and skills agenda.

MCMT will now go forward to compete for the national title at the Made in the UK Awards, due to be held in Coventry on June 20th.