Brandauer presses on with expansion after Apprenticeship boost

A Birmingham manufacturing specialist has introduced new processes, reduced the average age of its workforce by 13 years and won new business after completing an impressive overhaul of its apprenticeship scheme.

Brandauer, a specialist in metal pressings and stampings, had become disenchanted with ‘growing its own staff’ after significant investment had simply led to poor ‘training experiences’ and their best young people being cherry-picked by the local OEMs. 

The company completed a lot of soul searching and, with the external backing of In-Comm Training, set about redesigning the programme and accessing the provider’s employer-led approach to apprenticeships and its state-of-the-art Technical Academy in Aldridge.   

Over the course of the last decade, Brandauer has gone from zero apprentices to having ten engineers contributing pro-actively on its shop-floor and this has already led to new product introductions and over £1m of commercial contracts that likely wouldn’t have been delivered without their input.

“We had got to the stage where we thought the apprenticeship system was broken, driven primarily by a lack of loyalty from the people we were training and the depth of quality in training providers,” explained Rowan Crozier, Chief Executive Officer of Brandauer.

“Our experience was continually poor with a lack of on-site support and assistance with recruitment right through to qualification. There was no ownership from the specialist, that was until we engaged with In-Comm Training after it impressed during a three-way pilot tender.

“In a short space of time, we went from being completely disinterested to being a massive advocate of apprenticeships and the widespread benefits they deliver.”

He went on to add: “We had some big skills challenges, not least an ageing workforce that presented a number of issues around skills being lost forever. Getting this knowledge imparted on our young engineers before it was too late was crucial and that’s where our apprentices really came into their own.”

Working in partnership with In-Comm Training, Brandauer developed a bespoke apprenticeship programme that gave our young people access to the latest courses and an internal mentor that offers advice, guidance and support throughout the journey.

Each apprentice is encouraged to spend time in the five main areas of the business so that they understand every element of the company and then they settle on the discipline they want to focus on.

Rowan added: “In-Comm’s trainers have all been involved in industry before so they understand what we are looking for in an engineer and the basic skills they will need at the start of their career.

“Combine this with being able to work on the latest CNC machines, metrology and robotics also helps to futureproof our apprentices as we all look at ways of embracing the digital revolution.”

Bekki Phillips, Managing Director at In-Comm Training, concluded: “It’s all about showing employers how they can benefit then backing this up by delivering on what we’ve promised. This is exactly what we’ve done with Brandauer and it is now one of our flagship companies when presenting the advantages of apprentices.

“The company was even named Employer of the Year at last year’s In-Comm Awards and just a few weeks ago saw James Arnold and Adam Burgoyne secure the Learner of the Year Business Support and Outstanding Apprentice of the Year respectively.” 

Established in 1862, Brandauer is one of the West Midlands best kept manufacturing secrets, producing millions of high tolerance metal pressings and stampings every week for customers in the plumbing, automotive, domestic products, electrical, medical and renewables sectors. 

For further information, please visit www.brandauer.co.uk or follow @cbrandauer on twitter. More information on In-Comm Training can be found at www.in-comm.co.uk or follow @incomm_training.