More than 200 representatives heard how the MCMT had met its initial targets of apprentices and upskilling opportunities, yet the bigger challenge awaits with apprenticeship recruitment quickly gaining footing and a commitment to deliver hundreds of upskilling courses.

“There’s an old saying that ‘build it and they will come’…well now is the time for industry, our schools, parents and people - both young and old - to prove that theory,” explained Snelson.

“The first twelve months have been fantastic, but we don’t have the time to sit back and reflect on what we’ve achieved. We have strong targets to meet and there is still a real problem with skills in engineering and manufacturing, with many experts predicting firms experience - on average - a near 12% churn in staff every year.”

MCMT marked its one-year anniversary by celebrating the achievements of its first cohort of students, who will now go on to spend four days per week at their employer as part of the next stage of their apprenticeships.

All of the apprentices passed their first year and have also supported a special Engineering Club for Kids and a number of activities designed to promote a career in industry, including school talks and interviews with the press and TV.

Snelson concluded: “When we opened in 2017, people said we must be so proud of what we have achieved. I disagreed at the time as it was just the start.

“Looking at our first cohort and how much they have developed in twelve months, not to mention the potential they have to make a massive impact in industry…that’s what makes us all proud.”

Picture caption: Gareth Jones, George Heeks, Sam Middleton, Matt Snelson, Matt Smallwood, Mark Bates and Colin Littley, Rhian Emery, Billy Mabbott, Jack Curtis, Sophie Reeves and Deklan Barton, Majella Fitzpatrick and Matt Moore.