KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) welcomed Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable to its Newcastle-under-Lyme premises and left suitably impressed by the company's investment in apprentice training and manufacturing technology.
The visit was part of the current Government strategy of developing long-term partnerships with industry and KMF was selected due to it being the largest sub-contract manufacturer of precision sheet metal components in the UK, supplying a diverse customer base from industry sectors such as aerospace, medical, renewable energy and telecommunications.
Of equal interest to Dr Cable was KMF's investment in its apprentice training scheme, which is self-funded and has been hugely successful, with former trainees now undertaking highly skilled jobs and some taking on senior management roles.
Highlighting the confidence that the company has in its apprentices the guide for Dr Cable's tour of the factory was 4th-year apprentice Sam Dutton.
Commenting on his visit, Dr Cable said: "KMF is a really inspirational engineering company with the best apprenticeship programme I've ever seen. The young people there were so professional and highly motivated — a brilliant example. KMF's commitment to skills provision, apprenticeships and in-house training."
"Our industrial strategy will aim to help companies like KMF so that we can support business with the right focus on skills, investment and growth for the future. The Government needs to have a close, long-term and strategic partnership with industry if we are to maintain our advantage in advanced manufacturing."
In response KMF Managing Director, Gareth Higgins said: "The comments made by Dr Cable about investment in training is encouraging and is one that KMF welcomes."
"As an investor in people and manufacturing technology, we are committed to maintaining and growing a strong engineering manufacturing business here in Staffordshire. This can only be achieved by developing the next generation of skilled people."
The success of KMF and its apprentice training scheme is the result of hard work by many individuals and the team involved were pleased with the comments and suggestions from Dr Cable.
Leading this team is Training Centre Manager, Jenny Conlon, who said: "It was interesting listening to the conversations that Dr Cable was having with the apprentices, he was genuinely interested in their achievements, asking about their individual experiences of the apprenticeship and the skills they are learning."