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Empowering Engineering Futures in the West Midlands

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Leaders from the business realm in engineering and manufacturing across the West Midlands convened for the inaugural Engineering Skills Conference held at The Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology.

Launched by Next Gen Makers in partnership with MSC Industrial Supply (MSC), the event saw key stakeholders within leading organisations in the region address the skills crisis affecting the industries with insightful contributions.

Joining the conference as a keynote speaker was adi Group’s Group Strategic Account Director James Sopwith, who used the platform to discuss adi’s pre-apprenticeship scheme, its positive impact on the industry and how other businesses can adopt a similar approach.

“The event offered a great opportunity to speak to an audience of like-minded industry leaders about the threat posed by the engineering skills shortage, and what we can do collectively to help tackle the issue and change the industry for the better.”

“Sharing insights into our groundbreaking pre-apprenticeship programme and discussing the importance of initiatives like these in shaping the future of engineering is a great way to encourage meaningful conversation and inspire other businesses.”

Speaking of the event

adi group’s mission perfectly complements that of Next Gen Makers, a company enabling leading businesses to share best practices regarding setting up and running apprenticeship schemes and promoting conversations about alternative approaches to talent development.

adi’s award-winning pre-apprenticeship scheme aims to provide young people with effective hands-on training to enable them to pursue a rewarding engineering career.

Offering students from years 10 and 11 the opportunity to develop their engineering skills with purpose-built workshops over two years, the students learn a range of core skills within the sector while experiencing a real-world work environment.

“Our students leave the programme with a formal Engineering and Learning (EAL) accredited qualification, which facilitates their progression within the field, helping them move towards apprenticeships and eventually, entry-level roles and beyond,”

“At adi, one of our main objectives has always been to tackle the skills gap issue, showing youngsters that there are valuable, practical ways into engineering that differ from more traditional academia.

“It’s about creating those alternative, highly rewarding paths and promoting their viability and effectiveness to young talent in the region. And we are passionate about showing other engineering and manufacturing businesses that with a similar approach, they can help make a difference, too.”

James.

A day of insights and best practice sharing with an agenda covering apprenticeships, upskilling and innovation to bridge the region’s engineering skills gap and much more, the event included a range of other speakers, who explored topics such as the changing landscape of education, mentoring and developing apprentice talent and building an inclusive workplace culture.

“Taking such an active role in an event that centres on a topic that is of utmost importance to our business was truly an engaging, inspirational experience. We hope the Engineering Skills Conference continues long into the future to help inspire the next generation of engineers and drive innovation in the West Midlands.”

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