MSC and Next Gen Makers to launch innovative project to help manufacturers find engineering apprentices

2 min read

MSC Industrial Supply Co. UK. is launching an innovative project with business partner Next Gen Makers to make it easier for its West Midlands-based customers to find and recruit engineering apprentices.

The online Engineering Apprenticeship Finder platform, developed by Next Gen Makers, will launch in National Apprenticeship week 2022 beginning 7 February and will signpost young people looking for Engineering Apprenticeships within the West Midlands region to a range of vacancies.

Over 50 high schools and colleges are set to receive access to the platform for their students, with Next Gen Makers also delivering webinars for career leaders in partnership with the Black Country Consortium.

Several of the region’s leading engineering apprenticeship training providers are also partnered with the project, including BMet, Make UK, Dudley College, Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology, City of Wolverhampton College and South Staffs College.

In November 2021 MSC, acquired a 49% stake in Next Gen Makers; a move it believes will help address the engineering skills shortage. The Engineering Apprenticeship Finder project is the first of several new initiatives to be launched because of this partnership and represents a direct solution to help match relevant individuals to the apprenticeship opportunities of MSC’s customer base of engineering and manufacturing firms in the West Midlands region.

“2021 was a poor year for recruitment into engineering apprenticeships, with total starts falling considerably,” said Adam Tipper, managing director of Next Gen Makers. “We have become acutely aware that one of the barriers preventing the filling of the many available engineering apprentices is lack of awareness of these opportunities by young people interested in starting a career in the sector... This project is aimed at raising awareness of these opportunities across the West Midlands.”

MSC and Next Gen Makers have partnered for two years to explore and understand the true challenges of the manufacturing sector and identify specific skills shortages. In addition to the Engineering Apprenticeship Finder project in the West Midlands, Next Gen Makers partners with engineering firms on a national scale to help them identify their skills gaps in an everchanging market.

Its Best Practice Programme equips manufacturers with the tools they need to better plan for, attract and retain apprentices. Through the programme, Next Gen Makers provides a host of best practice resources and peer-to-peer discussion forums. This enables manufacturing firms of all sizes to adopt new practices that have been proven in other successful apprenticeship schemes.

Next Gen Makers has recently partnered with Make UK to develop an Engineering Apprenticeships Employer Kitemark, which recognises companies that achieve a best practice benchmark and endorses them as an exemplary employer of apprentices. This helps make businesses more attractive to young engineers and assists them in finding placements that offer genuinely prosperous career opportunities.