Royal accolade for Stainless Metalcraft of Chatteris for its commitment to apprentice training

A long-established manufacturer has received a royal honour in recognition of its commitment to training.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 8:36 am
Princess Anne during a visit last year to Stainless Metalcraft.
Princess Anne during a visit last year to Stainless Metalcraft.

Stainless Metalcraft, based in Chatteris Business Park, Honeysome Road, Chatteris, has been named as winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity.

The 157-year-old company, which manufactures components for the energy, nuclear and medical technology sectors, has been singled out for its dedication to opening up career opportunities for local people, raising aspirations and increasing diversity in the sector.

In particular, the royal accolade has been granted for its apprenticeship scheme, which has launched the careers of more than 30 young people since it was kickstarted in 2010.

The initiative helped tackle an impending skills shortage by training more young people and reducing the average age of the workforce from 54 to 44.

Austen Adams, managing director of Metalcraft, which has 125 staff, said: “I’m delighted for everyone that their hard work and commitment to creating opportunities for young people has been acknowledged through this award.

“The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are known globally as a marker of quality and outstanding performance so being recognised through the scheme provides a welcome fillip for everyone associated with the company.

“As a former apprentice myself, I’m passionate about creating accessible routes into this rewarding and varied industry and the success of the approach is being felt across the business, with a number of former apprentices now moving in leadership and management roles.

“We are particularly pleased to see growing numbers of women applying for our engineering roles.

“We currently provide training for double the national average of female apprentices in a STEM-related field, and are working closely with local schools to educate young people about the career opportunities that exist in the industry.

“We are also working hard to develop the skills of employees across the board, empowering them to take their careers to the next level.

“This includes providing support for further specialist qualifications and supporting a former apprentice to undertake a degree.”

News of the honour comes just weeks after the company was named as a critical supplier during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It furloughed 34 of its employees, including all of its apprentices, as it reshaped its operations to support key customers in the medical and energy sectors.

Mr Adams said: “While it is hugely disappointing that the current situation means we are not able to celebrate this award with our apprentices in person, it once again recognises that they are the lifeblood of the business.

“The decision to temporarily put their training on hold was a hugely difficult one but their health and wellbeing has to come first and we were unable to guarantee that their training centre could continue to provide a safe learning environment.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure they are able to finish their training in due course and, with the whole community following the Government’s social distancing and isolation guidelines, we are hopeful the pandemic will be brought under control quickly in the not-too-distant future.”