The managing director of a local engineering company has been appointed regional chair of a national body set up to support the manufacturing and engineering industry. Semta (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies) has appointed Jim Griffin of Automotive Insulations as the new chairperson of the West Midlands regional council.
Jim took over as chair at the end of 2012. His company, Automotive Insulations specialise in the design and manufacture of acoustic and thermal insulation materials for the automotive industry amongst others. Their products help reduce noise, vibration and harshness in vehicles, including the award winning Range Rover Evoque. Jim has led the company to a 140% increase in turnover since a management buyout in 2006.
Semta, which is funded by the UK Commission for Employment, aims to support growth and productivity within industry through skills diagnostics, strategic workforce planning, consultancy, funding and training programmes. There are nine regions in England, and Jim joins chairs from some of industry’s most well-known names such as Toyota, Nissan and Rolls Royce.
“I am delighted to working for industry in the West Midlands region as well as representing SMEs amongst some of the larger multinationals,” comments Jim. “SMEs are vital to the success of British engineering, so it’s important to get a balance of views from companies of all sizes operating in different sectors of manufacturing and engineering. By working with other businesses from the area and offering our feedback to Semta, we are helping to ensure the training needs for future manufacturing are met.”
The company also use the Semta Apprenticeship Service (SAS) which allows businesses to develop their skills base whilst the whole process is managed by SAS. Described by Ofsted as being outstanding in meeting the needs of employers and providing outstanding value for money, the Semta Apprenticeship Service is available free of charge to all companies. Automotive Insulations currently have one maintenance apprentice with plans in place for further apprenticeships to be offered during 2013.
“Good quality training is essential to the future of industry in the West Midlands and the Semta scheme is an excellent way for an SME to engage an apprentice as well as ensuring the next generation of engineers are highly skilled and properly trained,” adds Jim.
Semta’s apprenticeship programme, backed by Business Secretary Vince Cable, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the National Apprenticeship Service aims to double the current number of advanced and higher apprentices to 16,000 by 2016. National Apprenticeship Service research suggests that 80% of companies who employ apprentices say they improve workplace productivity. Semta’s programme, known as Apprenticeship Ambition, specifically targets SMEs who are traditionally less likely to train apprentices.