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Stainless Metalcraft win prestigious Queen's Award for their work on Promoting Opportunity

At Stainless Metalcraft (Metalcraft), we’re proud to trace our roots back over 150 years to when manufacturing operations first began on Chatteris High Street. The company relocated to our current home in 1890, becoming known as Chatteris Engineering Works before eventually being renamed Stainless Metalcraft in 1963.

Throughout our history, Metalcraft has enjoyed a reputation for quality and innovation that has seen this small business, located in the Cambridgeshire Fens, play a key role delivering engineering programmes that have changed the world: From developing components for the world’s first MRI machines and proton therapy machines to fusion power, energy storage systems and even the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, the skills of our local engineers have certainly made their mark across the globe.

At the heart of this success has been our apprenticeship programme, which recently celebrated the double milestones of its 100th anniversary and welcoming our 500th apprentice to the business.

Over recent years, we have been working hard to improve the diversity of our workforce, attracting more women onto the scheme and building relationships with schools, colleges, students and parents to raise awareness of the opportunities on offer. Crucially, being located in an area that is home to several of the country’s most deprived communities, we are also committed to improving social mobility, tackling head on some of the challenges that can stand in the way of young people joining the industry.

Today, we are proud that over 50% of our workforce, including many members of our senior management team, began their careers as apprentices and we strongly believe that a high-quality apprenticeship offers one of the best routes into long-term, rewarding careers in the industry.

Why did you apply for a Queen's Award for Enterprise in Promoting Opportunity?

We decided to apply for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise as part of our programme to celebrate the achievements of our workforce and showcase the quality of work that goes on here in our small corner of Cambridgeshire.

Promoting opportunity has always been at the core of Metalcraft’s ethos and we believe we offer one of the best apprenticeship programmes in the country. But, while working on flagship programmes can generate positive headlines, none of it would be possible without the talent and skills of our workforce. It is their commitment to passing on traditional skills and helping create opportunities for the next generation of young people that allows Metalcraft to do what it does well. It is therefore their achievements that we wanted to celebrate through this award.

What has winning the award meant for your business and staff?

Receiving the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity is a real hallmark of quality, recognised around the world, and while we may not have been able to celebrate the award in quite the manner we originally envisaged due to Covid-19, it has provided a real fillip for the team.

Tips for future applicants.

Our advice for companies considering making an application? Look closely at your organisation: Is what you’re doing genuinely world class? Can you explain clearly how your operations benefit your local community? How could other businesses and organisations learn from your experience? If you can answer all these questions positively and compile the evidence to back up your claims, then get your application in. Yes, the application process requires investment of time and resources but the boost to morale and international recognition securing the award delivers should repay that investment many times over.

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