West Midlands-based MSC Industrial Supply Co UK
has acquired a 49% stake in Next Gen Makers
, which helps engineering and manufacturing businesses attract and retain skilled apprentices — a move it believes will help address the engineering skills shortage.
Next Gen Makers partners with engineering firms, helping them identify their skills gaps in an ever-changing market. Its Best Practice Programme equips manufacturers with the tools they need to better plan for, attract and retain apprentices.
Through the programme, Next Gen Makers provides a host of best practice resources and peer-to-peer discussion forums. This enables manufacturing firms of all sizes to adopt new practices that have been proven in other successful apprenticeship schemes.
Next Gen Makers has recently partnered with Make UK to develop an Engineering Apprenticeships Employer Kitemark, which recognises companies that achieve a best practice benchmark and endorses them as an exemplary employer of apprentices. This helps make businesses more attractive to young engineers and assists them in finding placements that offer genuinely prosperous career opportunities.
MSC and Next Gen Makers have partnered for two years to explore and understand the true challenges of the manufacturing sector and identifying specific skills shortages. MSC believes that the acquisition will be an additional way to reinforce its commitment to make UK manufacturing the best it can be by helping businesses to attract the talent required to realise greater efficiencies and innovation.
Dave Darby, MSC UK managing director, said: “Having partnered with Next Gen Makers for several years, we are now extremely excited to take the relationship to the next level by acquiring a significant stake in the business.
“A large part of MSC’s customer base is made up of manufacturing companies and, consequently, we have developed a deep understanding of the challenges that they face, including the growing engineering skills shortage. We see our role as more than just a high-service-level distributor of industrial consumables — we are also committed to doing everything we can to support the growth of British manufacturing.”
In response to the engineering skills shortage, MSC has expanded its UK engineering team significantly, recruiting some of the best time-served, brightest engineers in the industry. However, this only partially addresses the shortfall in engineering skills across many of our customers.
Mr Darby said: “By partnering with Next Gen Makers we can help address another contributing factor, which is to bring in more young talented engineers into British manufacturing. Next Gen Makers is in a fantastic position to create something truly unique that facilitates placing more engineering apprentices into engineering companies. They achieve this by using the significant insight gained through working closely with schools, colleges and engineering manufacturers.”
Adam Tipper, Next Gen Makers managing director, said, “In our partnership with MSC as a strategic partner, I have seen the company’s drive to help UK engineering and manufacturing firms prosper, whether driving operational efficiency gains through its engineering expertise or consolidating supply. MSC’s acquisition of a stake in Next Gen Makers will help us realise ambitious growth plans as we extend our reach nationally.”