Engineering company benefits from free upskilling through EnginE

Preston-based engineering company Electropak has taken advantage of a number of fully funded masterclasses provided by Blackburn College as part of the EnginE project. 

Electropak is a family-run sub-contract manufacturer which works in the supply chain for the aerospace, rail, automotive and health sectors.  The company has benefitted from EnginE, a project which aims to raise awareness of higher level and degree level apprenticeships as an effective way of upskilling the workforce and increasing productivity in Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing SMEs in Lancashire.  EnginE is addressing some of the skills gaps and productivity issues which currently face the AEM sector.

Analysing the company’s training needs and skills planning

Blackburn College undertook an Organisational Needs Analysis of Electropak and worked together on skills planning for the business. It was evident that 3D CAD Modelling and 3D Printing are developments which are becoming increasingly important for the company to understand.  

It was, therefore, recommended that Electropak attended a 3D Printing and 3D CAD Modelling masterclass to develop its knowledge about these technological developments in their sector. 

Given the managers are generally promoted from within, the free skills planning highlighted the need for supervisory level employees from Electropak to attend both Leadership & Management and Procurement masterclasses to develop their leadership skills.  These employees would then have the opportunity to progress onto a fully-funded taster module from ILM Level 5 or Procurement Level 4 apprenticeships

Delivering Benefits to the company

Electropak’s sales director, Matthew Lambert, found the masterclasses extremely useful and said: “I attended the 3D CAD, 3D Printing and Procurement masterclasses. Working in a small engineering business, you often wear many hats; sales, project management, engineering support, procurement, HR, finance etc. You need to know a lot!

"The masterclasses offer training and advice in these areas, which is nice to have rather than just learning on the job. The content of the masterclasses is relevant and well delivered by people experienced in their field. I like the half-day format, which is concise and doesn’t drag. The classes are attended by people from other engineering SMEs and this provides a good networking opportunity.”

Linda Palentine, EnginE business engagement officer, stated: “As a result of participating in the EnginE project, Electropak has been able to access free skills planning and has had the opportunity to upskill the workforce and increase their knowledge to enable them to become more competitive. 

"Through attending the masterclasses, they have also been able to learn about how higher level and degree level apprenticeships provide AEM SMEs with an alternative and vocational route to HE education. We hope to see Electropak take advantage of the fully funded taster modules which are on offer.”

For more information, contact EnginE@blackburn.ac.uk

The EnginE project has been co-designed by Higher Education, Further Education and industry representative partners (Lancaster University, Blackpool and Fylde College, Blackburn College and Northern Automotive Alliance).  EnginE will deliver projects with Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing (AEM) SMEs to build their capacity for higher level skills and degree apprenticeships.  The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund.