Innovative partnership set to solve the skills gap for engineering firms

by | Jun 4, 2019 | Good news | 0 comments

Numerous studies are reporting that the engineering skills shortage is one of the main concerns facing British Manufacturing today and yet each year, there are thousands of engineering students that do not secure a career in engineering.

MSC Industrial Supply Co, a market leader in the supply of Metalworking and MRO industrial consumable items, is acutely aware of the engineer skills shortage that is causing great concern for many of its customers, especially within SME (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises) manufacturers.

Dave Darby, Managing Director at MSC, comments “At MSC we are exposed to thousands of engineering firms which enables us to deeply understand the challenges that they face today and tomorrow. To address the engineering skills shortage, we have been strengthening our best in class national engineering team. Our engineering team has saved significant time and costs for hundreds of our customers. That said, we recognise that this can only satisfy part of the problem, which is why we have been searching for a partner that can help our customers recruit and inspire the next generation of engineers. We are now very excited to announce that MSC has formed a partnership with Next Gen Makers“.

Next Gen Makers are a new start-up business based in the West Midlands. Their purpose is to address the engineering skills shortage by inspiring the next generation of engineers in colleges and schools in the West Midlands to pursue a career in the sector, then help to place them in manufacturing companies that need to take on engineering apprentices

Adam Tipper, Owner-Director of Next Gen Makers, comments: “there is clearly an engineering skills shortage in the UK and yet there are thousands of engineering students looking for apprenticeship opportunities each year that struggle to find employers to take them on. This is because they lack awareness of engineering companies in their local area. We are actively working with colleges and secondary schools to bring companies and students together via our innovative model. We also work to inspire more young people to look at a career in the engineering sector. I am excited about the prospect of working with an industry leader like MSC, who are passionate about supporting UK Manufacturing. Their engineering experience and capabilities make them the ideal partner for us.”

Many SME engineering firms view taking on an apprentice as overly complicated and feel that they are unable to invest the time needed. However, the reality is somewhat different.

Apprenticeship schemes help to ensure employers get the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need while growing a talented and engaged workforce, often filling skills gaps. Apprenticeships can be tailored to specific job roles, making them flexible to the needs of a business.

There are additional benefits to injecting some youthful talent into a workforce which is often overlooked, all of which can help to improve business performance. For example, younger workers can add a fresh perspective and new ideas. In turn, this can excite existing employees and spark a boost in overall business productivity. Apprenticeships also provide firms with skilled workers that they need for the future and to embrace the latest technologies. The process of taking on apprentices also encourages companies to take a closer look at the way they do things because they are passing on knowledge and expertise to people keen to learn the trade or business. This can lead to improvements and increased efficiency.

While having an individual within the workforce that can act as a mentor for the apprentice is essential; employers should not be put off by misconceptions surrounding the time required to invest in the training and development of an apprentice. New Apprenticeship ‘Standards’ mean an employer can expect to save time in the long run by having an individual that is guaranteed to be suitable for their specific role within the business.

Anyone considering an apprenticeship can be reassured of these positive benefits it brings to individuals and workplaces across the industry.

The partnership between MSC and Next Gen Makers is all about making a positive change to the lives of many young engineers and engineering firms. Working together, they will address the major problem that faces UK manufacturing today and for years to come.