Next Gen Makers is an innovative initiative which launched in the West Midlands two years ago, with the aim of making it easier for engineering and manufacturing businesses to recruit engineering apprentices.
It does this by proactively inspiring the next generation of engineers in local colleges and secondary schools and by helping manufacturing businesses, in particular SMEs, to compete and make their apprenticeships attractive to relevant students.
MSC is a principal partner to Next Gen Makers. Since the partnership was formed, Next Gen Makers activity promoting local Engineering careers, has reached over 10,000 students across 40 High Schools and 7 Further Education Colleges. So far, over 50 SME manufacturing and engineering firms in the West Midlands have reaped the benefits.
The Next Gen Makers Staffordshire operation will be headed up by Alec Proctor, a former Managing Director of a Cannock based SME manufacturer, and now Director of Stoke based HR, Health and Safety, Recruitment and Consultancy business Novelus Ltd. Alec and his business partners, including Recruitment specialist Anita Gratton and HR specialists, are forming partnerships with manufacturing and engineering businesses in Staffordshire who can benefit from recruiting apprentices. Stoke on Trent College is one of their first college partners to be established.
Adam Tipper, owner and director of Next Gen Makers, said: “The engineering skills shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing UK manufacturing today; however, Next Gen Makers has proved that it is a problem that can be solved by a coordinated industry-led approach.
“By inspiring more young people to pursue a career in engineering, bringing manufacturing businesses and relevant students together, and raising awareness of the opportunities in the local area, we can place genuine engineering talent where it is needed the most.
“We are delighted to work with MSC who share our ambition of solving the engineering skills shortage and supporting UK manufacturing.”
According to a government study, for the UK engineering sector to gain enough candidates to reduce the skills shortage, it would need around 186,000 new skilled recruits each year until 2024.
Howard Rothwell, sales director at MSC, said: “At MSC, we work with many engineering businesses and are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing in relation to the skills gap.
“Alongside the significant and ongoing growth of our own internal engineering team, we are proud to partner with Next Gen Makers as this helps our customers directly inspire and recruit thenext generation of engineers.
“Our partnership with Next Gen Makers continues to be very successful in the West Midlands, and we look forward to supporting its rollout into North Staffordshire, which is another area where many manufacturing businesses are experiencing the impact of the skills shortage.”
Next Gen Makers takes a strategic and long-term approach to solving the skills gap. The company realises that most SME manufacturers are too busy to be promoting themselves in local schools and colleges, so has created a platform to do this for them, through their Engineering Careers Prospectus and Engineering Careers webinars.
Next Gen Makers also supports SME manufacturing businesses to raise awareness of their Apprenticeship opportunities, so they are on the radar of more potential apprentices, which is currently one of the main barriers SMEs face.
Bringing younger apprentices into manufacturing businesses introduces different skill sets which helps firms adapt in line with technological change and prepares them for future manufacturing requirements.