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KMF leads the way with award

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Forward thinking businesses join forces to address the skills shortage and inspire the next generation.

Stoke-on-Trent companies are making a real impact by supporting local high schools and igniting the enthusiasm of our future engineers.

Twenty Five local and national businesses have united with KMF Precision Sheet Metal to find the future talent within the area.

Following the success of KMF's Young Engineer of the Year in 2012/2013, where over 1,700 students were inspired by the career opportunities highlighted by KMF, the company has committed to running Young Engineer of the Year on an annual basis for the foreseeable future.

This year KMF has invited other businesses to become involved in the project in a bid to widen links to industry for local schools. On the day that Matthew Hancock, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, releases his speech on strengthening links between education and employment, KMF is already seven months into a project that addresses the issues that MPs are discussing in Parliament.

The need for proactive businesses such as the companies involved in KMF's Young Engineer of the Year is paramount for the future of the UK economy.

Great Britain was once at the forefront of engineering and manufacturing and can be there again if we invest wisely in the next generation and empower them with the skills and knowledge needed to enhance the UK's reputation on the global landscape.

Engineering offers the next generation a world of opportunities as the skills shortage looms, young people with the right skills and experience will be in high demand. Companies who open their doors and provide young people with the opportunities they need to develop into talented adolescents will see their business grow.

According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, around 1.25 million science, engineering and technology professionals and technicians are needed by 2020, to support the UK's economic recovery.

Many businesses involved in the project have invited students on factory tours, offered work experience placements, invited youngsters to interview people in the job roles they are aspiring to and gain valuable insight into industry.

All these aspects help to break down the barriers and unfamiliarity of the working environment and help young people to map their future development. Long term, it is hoped that the students involved in KMF's Young Engineer of the Year will have future careers with the sponsors involved.

For those students involved with the project, (approximately 2,300 Year 10 students from 18 local high schools), career paths have been forged. In 12-months' time, these students will be looking at 'what next', having built important relationships with a variety of organisations.

Students are given a chance to make important life decisions which will see them enter into the world of work, earn a living and ensure economic stability for their future.

These opportunities should be available to young people throughout the UK and in the long term KMF hope that this 'business model' is rolled out nationally.

One of the sponsor companies has already expressed an interest to run last year's Young Engineer of the Year clock project at their UK Head Office. The best practice shared by KMF will help this company work with local high schools within the Swindon area.

Schools, industry and government need to work collaboratively to address the issues faced by the UK. In the words of Mr Hancock, "Here in Britain, we need a clear mind, not a false prospectus of worn out retread so-called guarantees that guarantee nothing but expense for the taxpayer. But instead practical, grounded answers based on responding to employers, putting power in their hands, and driven by research."

For further information about KMF's Young Engineer of the Year visit www.kmf-young-engineers.co.uk

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