Northampton company lands Employer of the Year title at major Apprenticeship Awards

L-R: Clare Hennessy and Glyn Dickens (both of Fablink Group).

A Northampton manufacturing specialist has been hailed as a vocational star at this year’s In-Comm Training Awards.

Fablink Group, which produces metal pressings, operator cab assemblies, fuel and hydraulic tanks, beat off competition from across the UK to win the ‘Employer of the Year’ title at a prestigious event held last week.

The company impressed judges with its commitment to generating the engineering talent of the future by employing 20 apprentices, which now makes up 5% of its permanent workforce.

It also works to promote vocational learning in schools and has introduced a new Senior Manager apprenticeship programme to help it highlight the career progression available for people joining the business.

Bekki Phillips, joint Managing Director at In-Comm Training, commented: “There has been a lot of negativity surrounding Apprenticeships this year, with the national media quick to put the proverbial boot into the Levy and how it is failing employers across the UK.

“Talk of the number of ‘starts’ being down and large businesses turning the back on vocational training have dominated the headlines, but that’s only part of the story and last week we had the opportunity to tell the other half.

“The annual In-Comm Training Awards provides a fantastic platform to even the playing field and inform people about the amazing things that are happening in the West Midlands and highlight the companies that deliver anything from outstanding professional services advice to those making components that help drive the latest aircraft, cars and medical innovations.”

She continued: “We recognised and celebrated the best of the region’s vocational talent… the stars of business and industry and, more than likely, the business leaders of the future that are helping their employers work smarter, launch new products and services and, importantly, increase sales.

“Fablink has gone above and beyond, showing an unrivalled commitment to investing in and developing the manufacturing leaders of the future – well done!”

Other winners at the In-Comm Awards 2019 included:

· Learner of the Year – Business Support: James Arnold (Brandauer)

· Learner of the Year – Management & Leadership: Adam Strong (Top Tubes)

· Learner of the Year – Continuous Improvement: Jade Higgins (FBC Manby Bowdler)

· Learner of the Year AMTC (MCMT): Tyler Cadwallader (Bridgnorth Aluminium)

· Learner of the Year Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies: Adam Burgoyne (Brandauer)

· Apprentice Ambassador of the Year: David Latham (Liberty Pressings)

· Outstanding Apprentice of the Year: Adam Burgoyne (Brandauer)

· Most Improved Learner: Ryan Lenton-Kane (IMI Precision Engineering)

Headline sponsor for the event was the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), the machine tools supplier. Chloe Reeve, Technical Co-ordinator and former apprentice, was one of the judges for this year’s competition.

“I’m very passionate about the importance of vocational learning and ensuring more young people see it as a credible alternative to going to University, giving them the same career progression and opportunity to study towards a degree.

“The quality of entries just keeps getting better and better and the winners, highly commended and nominees are exactly the type of ambassadors we need to put apprentices on the map through tales of boosting sales, introducing money-saving processes and, importantly, acting as role models for the next generation.

She concluded: “It can be hard to find the right fit when you are first starting out in engineering. However, getting to know each department – as you would in an apprenticeship – provides that extra bit of information and experience. It also gives you a feel of real life and the potential for your future development.”

Over 300 people attended the In-Comm Training Awards, held for the second time at the ICC in Birmingham.