Established in 1978, Technoset is part of the Techno Group and specialises in the one-hit manufacturing and assembly of ultra-high precision turned and milled components.
Technoset’s founders wanted to build a business with people who were “talented, energetic, honest and happy to work”. Today, the company remains committed to the continuous development of its workforce, and apprenticeships are a key element of their strategy.
They’ve used the financial and practical support available through the MTC’s SME Support Service in partnership with Lloyds Bank to boost their business and accelerate their development plans. UK head of manufacturing, SME and mid-corporate at Lloyds Bank, David Atkinson, is delighted that the initiative has directly contributed to Technoset’s success:
“The pandemic has been a particularly testing time for the UK’s manufacturing SMEs. Lloyds Bank is here to help them strengthen their businesses today, as well as to prepare for a sustainable and successful future, and the SME Support Service is a fantastic addition to that commitment. Technoset is a great example of how firms can take advantage of some brilliant free resources to continue to push things forward, despite all of the recent challenges.”
We talked to Operations Director, Adam Land, about how the MTC is supporting Technoset to prepare for the future.
When did you start working with MTC Apprenticeships as your apprentice training provider?
This is our first year working with MTC Apprenticeships, although we’ve been involved with the wider MTC for a while. I worked for the MTC before joining Technoset, so we were already aware of the quality of the training and their vision to help manufacturing businesses improve their capabilities through advanced skills.
That said, in the short time that we’ve had our first MTC apprentice, Tyler, we’ve been so impressed with how he conducts himself. He’s exceeded our expectations and inspired our confidence to invest in recruiting our second MTC apprentice in September 2021.
The assistance that we’ve received through the SME Support Service has also been a crucial enabling factor – the business is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and this extra help has allowed us to accelerate things ahead of schedule.
Why apprenticeships / why are they important to your organisation?
Apprenticeships are absolutely fundamental to finding the skills that we need – we now have four apprentices on the payroll, with a fifth planned to join us in September. It’s always been difficult to find the right skills base in the wider area – not just for Technoset but for lots of advanced manufacturers. We can find great pairs of hands and really good workers, but the foundational knowledge about what happens in the process sometimes isn’t there. This knowledge is essential for effective problem solving in our precision business, and the apprenticeship pathway provides it – that’s why it’s so valuable to us.
The programme at MTC Apprenticeships is particularly useful because the learners get exposure to technological advancements as well as these fundamentals. We’ve also found that our young apprentices pick up these more modern digital technologies so quickly – they really do excel!
Apprenticeships are also a critical part of our succession planning and vital to the business’s development. Technoset started back in 1978, and there are guys that have been with us since the very beginning! They’re absolutely essential to what we do, but they’re not going to be working for us forever, so we need to plan ahead. We aim to take on really talented engineers and make them even better. We know that not every apprentice is going to stay with us for 40 years, but by recruiting and developing the best, and giving them great opportunities throughout their careers with us, we’re preparing a strong position for our future.
How has the Lloyds SME Support Service helped your business?
As a Lloyds customer, we accessed extra support through a referral from our Relationship Manager and it’s proving a fantastic bonus. The SME Salary Support Scheme is a huge help – it pretty much covers the apprentices’ first year salaries. This funding has enabled us to make those positive decisions earlier because it has reduced the pressure on the business, plus the cost of the training itself is covered too through the Lloyds Bank Levy Transfer.
We’ve also taken advantage of the MTC’s free online training courses – I think the whole management team completed the stress management one which was obviously very timely with everything going on this year! The MTC’s Manufacturing Support Services Team are also helping us to develop our technology roadmap, starting with a free line walk, which will guide our investment plans and future apprentice strategy.
What has your experience been like working with MTC Apprenticeships?
Very good! The team’s support is always excellent. You can also tell what the MTC is like from the way Tyler conducts himself – his communication is extremely professional, he’s calm, organised and has great manners, and is confident speaking to people he’s never met before. He sends me weekly updates about his progress, in addition to the trainers’ progress reports, so we’re getting to know him and build a relationship even though he’s full-time off-the-job at the moment.
What do your apprentices think about their programme?
Tyler really enjoys his training, and is very enthusiastic about what he’s learning. He thrives on being assessed each week, and this drives him to exceed his previous achievements. He also won the Apprentice of the Month award earlier this year – we were all really chuffed with that!
This year has obviously been a really tough time for the apprentices, but Tyler seems to take everything in his stride. He’s adaptable and flexible, and always makes the most of his opportunities – that’s the kind of person you want in your business.
What is the feedback from their managers and those who work closely with them?
Because he’s in the first year of his programme, Tyler spends the majority of his time at the AMTC working through his off-the-job training, but he’s spent a few weeks back with us in between times. The people that he worked with all said how switched on Tyler is, how he’s great at engaging with people and really gets stuck in. We’re all very impressed.
What do you like most about the MTC programme?
We work with several good training providers, but for me, the environment at the MTC gives apprentices a better exposure to the wider working world and advanced technology.
The team also coaches the apprentices to develop skills that are very valuable in the workplace – their behaviours and communications skills for example are exceptional, and they really understand the importance of workplace organisation and good kit.
Additionally, the training pathway they’re on means that we can be flexible in the direction and focus of each apprentice’s role – we’ll get the best out of them because they’ll be able to specialise in what they’re most passionate about. This flexibility is enabled by that strong foundational knowledge I was talking about – it’s a brilliant start to anyone’s career.
For example, when he returns to us, Tyler will ultimately be working towards a quality and inspection role, and he’ll be able to do this so early in his career because he’ll have a solid understanding of what goes into the process before it reaches the next step, and how that process can influence the part. In precision manufacturing, this intelligence is essential in enabling effective problem solving (understanding what’s gone wrong and how to fix it) rather than just spotting and reporting an issue. He’ll have more strings to his bow, which is great for him, and will also make him more valuable to us.
You can find out more about the SME Support Service by visiting https://the-amtc.co.uk/lloyds-sme/. If you have any questions about the SME Support Service or would like to discuss your businesses’ individual requirements, please contact email@example.com or call 02476 701781.