Manufacturer that provides route into engineering for young people in the Fens wins national award

HRH Princess Anne met apprentices at Stainless Metalcraft during a visit in 2019. Picture: SUPPLIED

HRH Princess Anne met apprentices at Stainless Metalcraft during a visit in 2019. Picture: SUPPLIED - Credit: Archant

A Chatteris manufacturer which supplies components around the world whilst providing a route into the engineering industry for young people in the Fens has received a national award.

Stainless Metalcraft has been recognised for its commitment to providing pathways into long-term engineering careers for local people with the Queen’s award for enterprise.

The award recognises outstanding achievement by UK businesses in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Since its apprenticeship scheme began in 2010, Stainless Metalcraft has helped launch the careers of over 30 young people, tackling a skills shortage by training more young people and reducing the average age of the workforce from 54 to 44.

Austen Adams, managing director of Metalcraft, said: “I’m delighted for everyone that their hard work and commitment to creating opportunities for young people has been acknowledged through this award.

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“I’m passionate about creating accessible routes into this rewarding and varied industry and the success of the approach is being felt across the business, with a number of former apprentices now moving in leadership and management roles.”

While much attention is placed on Metalcraft’s apprenticeship programme, the award also recognises the firm’s focus on raising aspirations, helping engineers to develop their careers and work to increase diversity in the sector.

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Mr Adams said: “We are pleased to see growing numbers of women applying for our engineering roles.

“We provide training for double the national average of female apprentices in a STEM-related field and are working closely with local schools to educate young people about the career opportunities that exist in the industry.

“We are also working hard to develop the skills of employees across the board, empowering them to take their careers to the next level.”

Metalcraft has been named as a critical supplier during the coronavirus pandemic and has refocused its operations to support key customers in the medical and energy sectors.

The business announced it had furloughed 34 of its employees last month due to the outbreak, including all of its apprentices, but Mr Adams stressed this was the right thing to do.

He added: “While it is hugely disappointing that the current situation means we are not able to celebrate this award with our apprentices in person, it recognises that they are the lifeblood of the business.

“The decision to temporarily put their training on hold was a difficult one, but their health and wellbeing has to come first and we were unable to guarantee that their training centre could continue to provide a safe learning environment.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure they are able to finish their training in due course and, with the whole community following the Government’s social distancing and isolation guidelines, we are hopeful the pandemic will be brought under control quickly in the not too distant future.”

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