Engineering firm recognised as a leading employer of apprentices

Maycast-Nokes team Ashley Phillips, Lyn Richer, Colin Richer and Mike Poyner with their regional Nat

Maycast-Nokes team Ashley Phillips, Lyn Richer, Colin Richer and Mike Poyner with their regional National Apprenticeship Award - Credit: Archant

Foundry business Maycast-Nokes named SME Employer of the Year 2019 at the East of England regional National Apprenticeship Awards.

Apprentices at Maycast-Nokes last year

Apprentices at Maycast-Nokes last year - Credit: Archant

Dave Blower is sales director at the company, which has a factory in Halstead. He said the award, which was collected at a ceremony at Newmarket Racecourse last week, "rewards the importance we have attached to apprentices".

He continued: "Some time ago we identified that with skills training programmes being cut that there would be a void of skilled workers coming through, so we got behind apprenticeships.

"We provide a training room where people can do their college work, so they don't fall behind, and hold regular reviews. Our apprentices are mentored by older apprentices and we put a lot of effort into maximising their achievements - it means we benefit from having a well motivated workforce."

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Mr Blower said currently the company has 13 people working their way through level 3 apprenticeships and two others doing level 4 and 5 qualifications. From a total workforce of 130 at Maycast-Nokes, around 25% of employees have gone through its apprenticeship scheme.

This includes the company's apprentice ambassador Ashley Phillips who visits local schools and colleges to encourage students to consider apprenticeships as a viable route after their studies.

Mr Phillips has completed his main apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with Maycast-Nokes and intends to continue to study with the support of the company until he has secured a degree in engineering.

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He said: "When I first came out of school I had no idea what I wanted to do and although I was quite academic at school I started to start to look at apprenticeships rather than going to university.

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"With university you are looking for a subject to study, with an apprenticeship you are choosing a career. The apprenticeship route has suited me down to the ground because it allows you to cement your study with practical experience."

Now in their 16th year, the National Apprenticeship Awards showcase the achievements of outstanding apprentices and apprentice employers. The Maycast-Nokes team will now head to the national final to be held in London on November 27.