Investors in people

Recently I travelled to Shipley, West Yorkshire, to visit a company that has always featured strongly in my schedule since becoming editor of CanTech – CMB Engineering.

The reason for the company being on my radar is that it always has something to shout about it seems – which is rather good for the news pages and equally as good for the industry, as it tends to lean towards the positive it has to be said.

Over the last 18 months, the first thing of note is the Queen’s Award for International Trade, the second time it had been given to the company in four years. Marking the 50th anniversary of CMB in the same year it was a welcome addition to the trophy cabinet.

Speaking to Andrew Truelove in his Shipley office, he remembered hearing the news that they were to be recognised once more: “It was a fantastic achievement,” he said. “As a company we were all incredibly proud to have been given the award as it shows that we’re setting the bar very high in everything we do here. Our people have made this possible and it goes to show that investing heavily in your team will ensure the best possible results. We expect the highest standards from our staff and it’s always an honour to be told you’re doing a good job from an outside source as reputable as the Queen’s Awards.”

In a recent blog I wrote about the importance of investing in your staff to ensure the future looks bright for this industry, and Andrew and his team seem to have bought into this quite some time ago. I stated the obvious to a certain extent but it is never a bad thing to be reminded that you are only as good as your workforce.

The company has an apprentice scheme in place that encourages young, budding engineers to concentrate on a successful career from a comparatively early age. Testament to the time and effort invested in the young apprentices is the encouragement they received when competing in the Worldskills Competition – an event that showcases the value of skills and raises the recognition of skilled professionals worldwide.

Three CMB apprentices, Chris Renwick, Patrick Devanney and Dominic Trees, were tasked with creating a remote control forklift capable of transporting loads of 50kg, with firm instructions that it had to be both sustainable and developed to strict specifications. They came fourth overall in the renowned Manufacturing Team Challenge, against some very stiff competition, and were awarded Medallions of Excellence at the event in São Paulo, Brazil. The team won first place in the UK National WorldSkills competition in Birmingham in November last year and the achievements, both nationally and internationally, are further testament to the young engineers’ commendable skill set.

Truelove said of the achievement: “We are extremely proud of the boys’ efforts in what is a highly pressurised environment. The fact that they were able to keep calm and replicate the high standards of work that they produce for us on a daily basis on the global stage, is proof of their strong character, exceptional workmanship and the high level of expert support and training they receive at CMB. We have always had a strong belief in reinvesting in the future of our industry and it is moments like this that act as a fantastic reminder that by taking time to nurture young talent, we can reap the rewards and continue to set the benchmark, while pushing innovation well into the future.”

The future looks bright

On the day I visited, the Academy of Canmaking and Seaming, proudly supported by this publication, was in full swing and is yet another achievement from CMB in the last year and a half. Since it first opened last year there have been a large number of training sessions there for can makers from around the world and the facility has expanded to include more classroom space and additional equipment.

CMB felt that there was a niche in the market to set up a training academy in order to safeguard the skillsets needed to carry on the complex task of can making. As we know, there are myriad people in this business who have been dedicated to it for several years, and the fact remains that they will not be prepared to work forever. Therefore, and to reiterate my earlier point, to invest in the future through schemes such as the training academy is of vital importance to the continued success of the industry.

It is also there to offer training to customers who have unique requirements within their operations. Some will need specialist training in seaming, whilst others may need more focus on bodymakers or trimmers. The versatility of the programmes available are designed to cover a wide range of customer needs and the last 18 months have seen the facility at near capacity.

The future is bright it seems, at least for those can makers in Shipley. The company has proven again and again that if you take the time and effort to nurture young talent, and also to invest in your existing workforce, they in turn will see you through to the results you desire from your business.

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