Praise for apprenticeships

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling last week visited Birmingham manufacturer Radshape Sheet Metal and praised their apprenticeship scheme.

At a time when skills and training are high on the political agenda, Darling visited Radshape at the start of his regional tour. The company has taken on four apprentices in the last three years and plans to take on one or two more each year.

Managing director Keith Chadwick said: ‘An ageing workforce and the need for flexible and fully trained employees encouraged us to tread the proven path of training in-house. The future of Radshape depends on our people and if traditional skills are not maintained and enhanced then we do not have a company.’

One apprentice, Richard Massey, designed and manufactured an off road go-kart using traditional toolroom and laser cutting skills which he acquired at Radshape. Radshape’s production manager, Mark Lewis is Massey’s mentor and set up the apprentice training programme with staff at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun College.

Based in Aston, Massey counts Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Morgan, BAE Systems, Atlas, Whale Tankers and Prodrive amongst its customers. It employs traditional sheet metalworkers to handcraft small intricate work and offers bespoke innovative solutions for companies seeking manufacturing advice.

Radshape made the chassis for the Morgan Aero 8, the innovative land and water driven Gibbs Aquada and the chassis and fuel tank for the new Marcos TSO.