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KMF and Stoke-on-Trent City Council:  Collaborating to boost apprenticeships and the city's skills pool


KMF were delighted to welcome Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Apprenticeship Hub Account Manager, David O’Connell, to our Staffordshire headquarters as a number of our staff are being supported in their development through funding from the local authority.

Over the last 12 months, the city council, through their Levy Share offer, has provided around £80,000 of funding for six KMF employees to access training and professional development courses and opportunities. The council’s initiative also benefits over 20+ other companies and organisations from across the private, public, and voluntary sectors of the local area, too.

As David stated on the day, “The aim of the initiative is to boost the skills pool within our local area and to give career chances to young people and older employees. The Levy Share is available to SMEs, plus also larger companies that have exhausted their own levy.Within the city council itself, over 500 of our employees have benefitted from apprenticeships since 2017, something that we are hugely proud of”.

The city council's Levy Share offer enables apprentices and staff to advance their careers by embarking on Level 4 courses. Last year, KMF’s Lewis Franks, Scott Mowatt, and Ewan Spooner all commenced an Engineering Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Standard supported by it. Their course is affiliated to NSCG, whilst three more KMF employees are now benefitting from the city councils’ financial commitment to developing skills and people.

Richard Bradshaw, Josh Brookes, and Richard Waite are at three very different stages of their career, but all three commented on how they want to develop both themselves and KMF by undertaking levy-funded professional development that will have a real impact on their roles, futures, and working environment.

Richard Bradshaw is 46 and has been with KMF for over two decades. He is now six months into a new role as a Continuous Improvement Engineer at the company. He is now undertaking a Level 4 Improvement Practitioner qualification led by CQM and is looking forward “to being able to be more strategic in how I work, and helping both the company, the staff, and myself through this training in which there will be a real focus on the production cycle.”

Richard Waite, 30, has been a Quality Inspector with KMF for the last seven months, after a decade working at the company. He too is undertaking the 18-month long levy funded Level 4 Improvement Practitioner qualification, and “is looking to become a Quality Engineer or Quality Trainer afterwards.”

The third KMF recipient of levy funding from Stoke-on-Trent City Council this year is 26-year-old Apprentice Assessor, Josh Brookes. Josh’s decade with KMF has seen him progress from being an apprentice to training and assessing apprentices, and he will be shortly starting a Learning and Skills Mentor course which in his words will “enable me to better both myself as a person and a mentor, also have a really positive effect on KMF’s apprentices, too. It will allow me a better understanding of how to get apprentices from A to B.”

At KMF, we are justifiably proud that our Apprenticeship programme has been recognised by the National Apprenticeship Service as ‘World-Class’. We understand that a company is only ever as good as its staff, and that is why their continuous improvement and happiness are so important to us. At KMF, we also recognise that our staff are the major factor in the success of the business, and that’s why employee training and CPD is such an essential ingredient in elevating KMF above our competitors.

We are passionate about both our current and future workforce. That is why we offer quality in-house training and apprenticeships to existing employees, as well as those wishing to join our expanding, successful company. That is why we are so grateful to the city council’s levy share support, and we look forward to maintaining this positive relationship so that more of our staff have the opportunity to gain higher-level technical skills and qualifications in the future. We feel that it is beneficial and positive not only for KMF, but also for the skills pool in the city and North Staffordshire, too.

David concurs... “Yes, it’s great for the apprentices and staff involved that we’re able to use our apprenticeship levy to support them and people across the city to develop their skills, improve their career prospects, and assist companies. This will in turn be positive for our local area and the local economy alike.”

For more information about the City Council's levy share offer please email

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