The Stroud Metal Company has been awarded £3.5 million by the Gloucestershire Infrastructure and Investment Fund (GIIF) to facilitate the relocation of factory and office space, to a new site located off Brunel Way in nearby Stonehouse.
The business has been producing precision components at their site in Stroud, for over 100 years. With roots dating back to the 19th century, Stroud Metal Company was officially incorporated in 1926 and is still a privately owned, family run business continuing to build upon their £6m turnover. More recently they have acquired Cotsworld Plastics Ltd, thus further growing their workforce.
The loan will enable the organisation to bridge the gap in between the construction of the new premises and the relocation of the business.
The two phase project, which will create 100 local jobs, will begin by constructing a new factory and office complex. The factory is due to open in December 2017 and will incorporate a green energy initiative including the installation of solar panels. Once fully operational, the company intend to offer three apprenticeships per annum to further grow the local economy.
Matthew Large, Managing Director of Stroud Metal Company and Cotsworld Plastics, said: “The support of GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire County Council and Stroud District Council were key to this project and without their assistance we could not have made it happen. Stroud Metal Company is thrilled to confirm that the construction of their new premises at Brunel Way, Stonehouse, has now commenced.
The land at the 5½ acre site has been cleared and is being prepared to accept a 79,000sqft bespoke premises to accommodate both Stroud Metal Co and their sister company, Cotswold Plastics. The investment in this new factory safeguards 62 highly skilled engineering jobs and will reinforce our position as a global player in the manufacture of deep draw metal pressings and plastic injection mouldings to the Advanced Automotive, Aerospace and Medical markets; as well as helping us develop the young engineering talent we need to help us grow further.”
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, added: “I’m pleased that a long established county business has been able to secure this loan from the Gloucestershire Infrastructure and Investment Fund - it’s great to see that Stroud Metal Company will create over 100 new jobs and support apprenticeships within the county.”
David Hagg, Chief Executive of Stroud District Council, added: “We supported the Stroud Metal loan application as a critical part of retaining the company and jobs within Stroud District. By helping the company move and expand into Stonehouse, its existing site in Dudbridge can be redeveloped as part of a wider regeneration scheme.”
Gloucestershire County Council acts as Accountable Body and provides the programme management for the GIIF fund on behalf of GFirst LEP. For further information about the Gloucestershire Infrastructure Investment Fund, visit www.gfirstlep.com .
The new North Worcestershire Engineering Centre of Excellence run by specialist training provider Midland Group Training Services (MGTS). Lee Weatherly, CEO of Midland Group Training Services gave attendees a tour of the new £1.5m facility which includes new CNC machinery and manufacturing equipment
The centre which will provide a dedicated facility to ensure that young people within the area can be trained with the engineering skills that local companies require, has been set up to deliver advanced manufacturing education, training and assessment at Levels 3 and 4, with an emphasis on advanced CNC and automation. MGTS, as a registered educational charity, has invested £800,000 in the centre to deliver apprenticeships and engineer development programmes, which is set to train up to 200 young apprentices over the next 4 years.
The new £1.5m advanced engineering and manufacturing training centre in Redditch opened earlier this year, following a private and public sector collaboration with Midland Group Training Services (MGTS) investing £800,000 and both Worcestershire LEP and Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP investing £350,000 each. The North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR) team worked with partners on behalf of Redditch Borough Council.
Lee Weatherly, CEO of Midland Group Training Services (MGTS), said: “It was a pleasure to showcase the North Worcestershire Engineering Centre of Excellence and to give a tour of our fantastic new machinery and facilities. Our new centre of excellence will help to train hundreds of apprentices and I am confident that the centre will have a hugely positive impact on the future of the local engineering and manufacturing industry in particular.”
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire LEP, said: “It’s great to see a large attendance for the North Worcestershire Engineering Centre of Excellence open event, following its Ministerial opening earlier this year. We have part funded the modern training facility to provide the relevant STEM based skills for the long-term development of our local workforce.”
Andrew Cleaves, Board Director – Skills, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, said:“We are delighted the facility is operational and helping the region’s engineers develop their skills in this vital sector. This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when LEPs work jointly together with the private sector to inspire local people and deliver the skills the local economy needs”
Cllr Bill Hartnett, Redditch Borough Council Leader, said: “This Council is committed to providing apprenticeship opportunities because we want our young to be the entrepreneurs of the future and continue to live and prosper in their hometown. So I welcome the news that this excellent facility is now open.”
Chris Mould a Partner at the Cheltenham office of national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill specialises in corporate audit and advisory work with particular knowledge and expertise of the manufacturing sector. Chris looks at the skill shortage issue in this sector…
Triggering Article 50 has intensified media speculation about what will happen to UK businesses when we leave the EU. The reality is that no-one knows what the shape of the marketplace will be until deals are agreed. In the meantime, it is important that the big issue in manufacturing is not swept under the carpet. Whatever
the future marketplace looks like, manufacturing businesses will not be able to capitalise on it without a skilled workforce. Manufacturers I have spoken to are
desperate to attract the younger generation to a career opportunity many overlook.
Local manufacturers have highly valued, skilled technicians on whom they rely, most of them belonging to the older generation. What happens when the experienced, skilled workers retire? Essential manufacturing skills need to be passed on and retained. For most of the last 20 years, the UK education system
has promoted the advantages of a university education and the attraction of working in service or leisure industries. The importance of manufacturing and
engineering skills has been overlooked to such an extent that the new skilled workers needed right now do not exist in sufficient numbers.
T Levels: The new technical A Levels
The new £500 million a year investment in T-levels announced in the spring budget gives hope for the future. T-levels will be offered from age 16 and aim to be equivalent to A-levels specifically focussed on vocational technical skills. Fifteen T-level courses will be offered initially. They are expected to include construction, engineering, manufacturing, transport and logistics. The courses will include core subjects such as English and Maths and are expected to require a three-month work placement.
This is great news for the manufacturing and engineering sector as it plans for the mid 2020s, but it doesn’t address the problem faced now. T-levels will not be offered until 2019/20. The problem remains: how to address the skills shortage in the sector over the six to eight years before T-level qualified students start to look for work. But some students leaving full time education at 18 or 19 could already have the right skills and sufficient interest to get involved in manufacturing, and they don’t have to complete a traditional degree level course to do so.
The government recently introduced the apprenticeship levy to encourage manufacturing and engineering businesses to take on apprentices. While the largest companies are attracting apprentices, smaller specialist firms still desperately need to attract their share of the talent.
Manufacturers: Go back to school
So what can be done?
Communicating the satisfaction of contributing to creating something useful has been overlooked in the drive to encourage students to go to university. There is a positive message which needs to be shared with schools and colleges. Businesses in the manufacturing and engineering sectors need people who are skilled in making things and enjoy it.
Manufacturing businesses need to forge better links with schools and technical colleges. They need to make themselves known as employers with opportunities for students, and provide mentors who can pass on their enthusiasm. The satisfaction to be had from working in the sector, and being at the forefront of new ideas and new products needs to be shouted from the rooftops. After all, not everyone wants to sit at a desk all day.
Jaguar Land Rover and the animated band Gorillaz (created in 1997 by rock group Blur frontman Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett), have joined together to find the next generation of world-class electronics and software engineering talent. They have designed a code-breaking challenge found in the virtual band’s app.
The best performers will be fast-tracked through the recruitment process, helping to meet Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to employ thousands of bright new talents over the next year. It’s a major change in the way the business looks for candidates, aiming to tackle the engineering skills gap and inspire and attract a diverse range of talent and new thinking.
The Gorillaz App launches a new Jaguar Land Rover recruitment area in the form of a 360-environment in the garage of the band’s home, which also features all the iconic vehicles from Gorillaz past. Here, applicants can explore and take a two-part challenge. The first part, designed to educate users about the benefits of electric vehicles, involves assembling the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, Jaguar's first all-electric five-seater sports car. Users can learn about the vehicle’s performance, battery technology, space, charging and range.
The second and more demanding part of the game, developed to engage and recruit budding electronic wizards and coders, will focus on cracking code in Alternate Reality Game format (ARG). The challenge takes them on a series of code breaking puzzles, that will test their curiosity, persistence, lateral thinking and problem solving skills - all real world attributes of a new generation of software and engineering talent.
Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, at Gaydon-based Jaguar Land Rover, said: “As the automotive industry transforms over the next decade, fuelled by software innovation, we have to attract the best talent and that requires a radical rethink of how we recruit. Here we’ve found an engaging way to recruit a diverse talent pool in software systems, cyber systems, app development and graphics performance. It will be the first of its kind.”
The Jaguar I-TYPE, Panasonic Jaguar Racing's all-electric Formula E racecar, appears in the garage. Users can click on a poster of Noodle with the I-TYPE and ‘FanBoost’ which enables them to vote for the @JaguarRacing team drivers to gain a power boost during their next race or to follow @JaguarRacing twitter channels.
The project follows on from Jaguar Land Rover’s STEM initiative with Gorillaz in 2016, where founder member and female guitarist, Noodle, became Jaguar’s Formula E Racing Ambassador. As the UK’s leading investor in research and development, Jaguar Land Rover is putting Noodle at the forefront of its campaign to address the skills gap that manufacturing worldwide is facing.
The company has used its debut season in Formula E to promote Jaguar Land Rover’s thought-leadership position as a business that is shaping the future to solve the technology innovation and skills gap challenges.
Interested applicants can download the Gorillaz App
at the iTunes App Store ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gorillaz/id1217997478?mt=8
) or Google Play ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Parlophone.Gorillaz&hl=en
To find out more about Jaguar Land Rover recruitment, click here www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com . For specific roles in Electrification see: www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com/jlr-roles/product-creation/electrification/
Traditional application methods remain open and CVs will be accepted, but Jaguar Land Rover invites potential applicants to download the app and break the codes and solve the problems to fast-track their way into employment.