Skills For The Future entrant – KMF
Sheet metal fabrication firm KMF has lowered its average employee age by 20 years after starting its own award-winning apprenticeship scheme.
In 2007 the average age of employees at the Newcastle-under-Lyme firm was 65. Today’s it’s 45.
The in-house apprenticeship scheme began as a business strategy to overcome the barriers of an ageing workforce and has become essential in providing the next generation of new technology led engineering specialists and also a major strategy within KMF’s recruitment business objectives.
“Apprentices have undoubtedly brought innovation, increased productivity and improved staff retention to all departments within KMF,” said Jenny Johnston, People and Culture Manager at KMF.
“KMF are dedicated to training world-class apprentices, providing opportunities to STEM-training and personal growth and development through wider activities such as community/charity engagement and outward-bounds team-building.”
KMF, which has 350 employees and 30 current apprentices, offers in house apprenticeships in Engineering Operations and Metal Fabricator Standards with progression onto Level 6 Standards.
It encourages all apprentices to progress onto Degree Apprenticeships and inspires them to enter different areas of the business, where their fresh outlook and true embodiment of organisational culture strengthens operations.
KMF was named Large Employer of the Year at the National Apprentice Awards 2023, which attracts more than 950 entries nationally and is considered to be the most important award in the UK for companies committed to training and development.
2002 saw KMF’s recruitment of its first apprentices. It initially used a local college to deliver the apprenticeship training program. Then in 2007, following approval for KMF to become an EAL assessment centre, a £1million investment was made into a dedicated in-house training centre and workshop facility.
Jenny added: “To support KMF’s culture of continuous improvement our apprenticeship is designed to meet our business demands, evolving with new technologies and skill requirements.
“Our programme goes beyond the mandated elements and enhanced knowledge, delivering return on investment within six months.
“Training and development of staff is at the heart of the company’s business objectives utilising the LEVY to upskill current employees alongside recruiting new apprentices into the business.”
KMF has entered the Skills For The Future category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.