We recently caught up with Nick Green, Production Director at Tadcaster-based Lambert Engineering, a new partner of UTC Leeds.
We asked Nick about why Lambert’s has chosen to work with the UTC, what kinds of activities are happening and the impact that is having both on the UTC students and this global engineering business.
What does your business do?
The company began 45 years ago making machine parts for the local paper and printing industry. Demand grew because of the quality of the products and associated service and the company relocated to bigger premises in Tadcaster, which is still our base today. Now Lambert Engineering is a leading provider of bespoke automation solutions. We operate worldwide, with approximately 180 dedicated staff and a global network of suppliers and technology partners. The essence of our business is our high tech skills – we have experts who can design cutting-edge automation processes and amazing technologies that help to transform businesses – getting products to market a lot quicker and cutting production costs.
What kind of customers to you serve?
Some of the biggest, most innovative companies in the world are Lambert customers in a wide variety of markets – from household goods to medical products. A lot of the household products that you probably use will have been assembled on production lines using our automation technology.
What are the challenges you face as a business?
In a word, recruitment. The current UK education system doesn’t encourage school leavers into engineering. Young people think it’s a dirty industry when modern engineering is about highly technical skills in well-organised surroundings, very often in an office-based setting.
How hard is it to find skilled staff?
We have a regular graduate and apprentice intake – we usually have eight to ten apprentices at any one time. Our well embedded programme of staff development backed up by coaching and mentoring helps our existing staff to grow into new roles. In fact I’m an example of that – I joined as a machine shop apprentice in 1996, became a project engineer then manufacturing manager and eventually ended up as a director.
Why did you get involved with the UTC?
We do a lot of work with schools, colleges and universities to demonstrate how exciting engineering really is. We believed that there was a skills gap at secondary school level where engineering skills being taught had significantly reduced. Our MD sits on regional engineering boards concerned with skills gaps, so was part of the initiative to secure a local university technical college.
What sort of things do you do with the UTC?
We advertise our apprenticeship vacancies at the UTC and we have hosted tours of our factory to show how some of the manufacturing disciplines like 6S work in practice. We have also provided a manufacturing and assembly challenge for use in the curriculum which includes phase tests for component production at the UTC to demonstrate the importance of 100% compliance.
How do you think working with a business such as yours benefits the UTC students?
It helps to inspire and inform them about the fantastic career paths that are available in the modern engineering sector. We cover such a wide range of roles at Lambert Engineering – from design engineers through to project managers and technical sales and many more – it gives a shop window on all the different opportunities in engineering
Are there benefits of working with the UTC for your business?
The UTC provides a talent pipeline for our apprenticeship opportunities. We can advertise our apprenticeship vacancies there and it helps to get our name out there amongst young people and parents. Working with the UTC helps us to showcase the great opportunities there are in this region for young, up-and-coming engineers.