Manufacturers keep it in the family with apprenticeships

10th March 2016
Posted By : Jacqueline Regnier
Manufacturers keep it in the family with apprenticeships

The fourth generation of a Midlands family has successfully completed an apprenticeship course with Midland Group Training Services (MGTS), and landed a permanent role with engineering specialist MNB Precision, at a time when the number of unfilled vacancies for manufacturing has risen to 23%.

Manmeet Bhandal has continued a strong family tradition by completing his three-year apprenticeship at MNB Precision, joining three generations of his family who have also gone onto enjoy long careers in manufacturing following spells at the MGTS. He is the latest success story to come out MNB’s strong apprenticeship programme, which also helped to train the existing directors of the family-run business.

The 22-year-old joins his family of electrical and mechanical engineers as a manufacturing specialist, after learning skills including CNC turning, Computer Aided Design (CAD), manual machining, inspection, testing, and milling whilst at MNB Precision. As he now takes up a permanent role in the business, Manmeet has plans to move into MNB’s design and planning department while studying a BSC Engineering qualification at university.

His journey is made all the more potent considering that the latest 2015 Employer Skills Survey (ESS) from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills revealed that a lack of appropriate skills is a growing concern amongst employees, with skills shortage vacancies rising to 23% during 2015, up from 16% in 2011. The engineering sector has found it particularly difficult to recruit in the face of a growing skills gap, with newly released figures from online jobsite CV-Library revealing that during January it had more engineering jobs listed on its site than any other sector.

For Manmeet, a career in engineering was always a path he wanted to follow, inspired by the rest of his family. But he has revealed that he was a unique case throughout his journey through education. 

He commented: “I was only one of a handful in my school who wanted to pursue a career in engineering and there weren’t a great deal of courses open to me. Subjects such as the resistant materials GCSE teaches you about product design and planning, but there are a very limited number of courses that teach you real life shop floor tasks such as machining, milling, and how to manipulate and change a material. It was only when I arrived at MNB and worked with MGTS that I started to develop these important engineering skills.”

Managing Director of MNB, Luke Benton, who is the third generation of his family to head up the precision engineering specialist company, believes that improved communication between government, industry, and education is the key to instilling the kind of passion and enthusiasm for engineering that Manmeet Bhandal had from his family, into other young people going through education.

Luke Benton commented: “The issue with the education system in the UK at the moment is that it is not developing the kind of skills that the factory floor requires. A lot of schools and colleges are run by academics who naturally encourage students to take academic routes to their careers. We need to get more manufacturing representatives into education to help demonstrate to young people that there is an alternative route to a long term career. The kind of work we do with MGTS is training young people in real machine shop disciplines to equip them for the engineering world but this journey really ought to start in the world of education.”


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