Manufacturer of the year scores education partnership success

Lambert Engineering’s commitment to building strong relationships with education has benefited more than 1,000 young people and led to national EEF success.

A leading provider of automation systems, equipment engineering and precision components, Lambert Engineering has just hit the 1,000 milestone for working with pupils in nearby primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities – all geared towards raising the image of industry and attracting the next generation of engineers.

Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Sam Yeadon, working on proof of principle innovation (Lambert Engineering).
Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Sam Yeadon, working on proof of principle innovation (Lambert Engineering).

The company’s eight-year plan has seen its reputation as an employer of choice rise rapidly, and it is currently in the process of recruiting five more apprentices to take its total to 11 employed in the past two years.

This commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF naming the firm as the National Winner of its ‘Partnerships with Education’ Award in the EEF/Aldermore Future Manufacturing Awards last week.

Its managing director, Warren Limbert explained: “Engineering isn’t just our business – we are passionate about it.

“We want to make sure that young people recognise the opportunities that a career in this sector offers and understand the skills that companies like ours are looking to nurture.

“We shouldn’t expect the Government to do this for us, so we decided – as part of our growth strategy – to develop a plan of action that would span from the very grassroots into further and higher education. Furthermore, it would engage our own staff to deliver and drive it.”

Editor of The Manufacturer, Callum Bentley recently interviewed Lambert Engineering’s managing director, Warren Limbert. You can read what was discussed here.

He continued: “There are nearly 40 employees currently working with schools, colleges and universities on a whole host of projects. These include factory visits; open days for parents and teachers; speed dating with engineers; graduate placements, and even sponsoring homework diaries.

“The EEF/Aldermore Award is a prestigious title to win and fantastic validation that our approach seems to be working. It’s also great for our employees, who without their commitment and passion, this programme wouldn’t be nowhere near as successful.”

Manufacturer of the year

On a glitzy night last November, The Tadcaster-based company claimed the prestigious ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ title at the TMMX Awards hosted by The Manufacturer and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Lambert beat off the challenge of more than 100 rivals from across the UK, with the high-profile judging panel announcing it as the best-all round ambassador for UK manufacturing and a role model for its peers.

Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Sam Yeadon in front of Lambert Engineering’s haul of TMMX 2015 trophies.
Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Sam Yeadon in front of Lambert Engineering’s haul of TMMX 2015 trophies.

That was not the end of the winning for the ambitious firm, with three more awards – Customer Focus, Leadership and Strategy, Innovation and Design – secured and now on display at its facility in North Yorkshire.

Lambert has enjoyed a major period of growth in 2015, securing a host of new contracts to secure modular manufacturing platforms for the medical device and packaging sectors.

Sales have broken £26m for the first time in its 42-year history and the company has increased its workforce by nearly 20% to 183 staff.

The next twelve months look equally as exciting, with plans to add £8m of new contracts and employ a further 25 people.

Apprentices

Limbert – who joined the business as a project engineer nearly 20 years ago – continued: “Although we are world leaders in automation and bespoke machinery, our success comes from the people who work here and we continually need the next generation of talented manufacturing professionals to join us.

Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Adam Stone, receiving the inaugural Peter Wainman Apprentice of the Year 2015 Award.
Fourth year mechatronic apprentice, Adam Stone, receiving the inaugural Peter Wainman Apprentice of the Year 2015 Award.

“Our apprenticeship scheme has already trained 38 young people and we are continually looking at evolving it…one example being a move towards making the training more mechatronic-based as Industry 4.0 will play a significant role in industry going forward.

“This isn’t about getting cheap labour. It’s about developing talented individuals in the culture of Lambert and equipping them with the highest skills possible.”

He added: “Each apprentice will go to college for the first year full-time, followed by twelve months spending time in all areas of the business to understand what we do and cover the core skills of the NVQ.

“Third and fourth years are then focused on their final department destination, with a qualified mentor helping them throughout the duration of their learning. In parallel with their training they also continue academic studies with some going to university.

“Outside of the formal training, we also run annual apprentice projects, with this year’s task to build a lightweight football table with no budget.”