What Employers Say
BEMA Training Centre
The new BEMA (British Engineering Manufacturers Association) training centre in Bristol is an astounding example of local business and industry members working together to proactively combat skills shortages. The training centre has been in operation for six weeks and is currently providing practical training for 12 engineering apprentices from businesses in the local area.
With it’s foundation as a trade association, BEMA has direct contact with industry members and identified the need to address ongoing skills shortages. The skills shortage affecting the West of England is further compounded for those SME’s that use highly specific, niche production processes, as students finishing their GCSE’s may only possess generalised skills.
Six of these SME’s (small and medium enterprises) came together to fund the development of the new training centre, where they could guarantee that their apprentices were receiving high quality training and gaining the knowledge that will build the foundation of their new career. With an industry investment of £120,000, the centre is fully equipped with state of the art CNC Lathes, Milling Machines and a new classroom.
All of the six companies that invested in the new training centre (Broadway Engineering Ltd, DS Machining Services Ltd, Nylaplas Engineering Ltd, McBraida PLC, Ravenscourt Engineering Ltd and Reynolds Engineering Ltd) have at least one apprentice completing training at BEMA, with the largest employer McBraida having four apprentices enrolled.
Paul Fricker, who is responsible for training the apprentices at BEMA, recognises the benefit of an industry funded and led training centre. “Businesses have said to us, we want basic engineering training back” said Paul, “There are a lot of highly skilled employees using digitally assisted machinery, but it is crucial for young people to learn the foundation skills. Machines will change and technology will develop, but the principals will stay the same”. Paul has over 40 years experience in engineering, starting out as an apprentice and working his way up to the role of company director. Now coming full circle, Paul is making his wealth of knowledge accessible to the up and coming engineers of the future.