16 Jun Weir Group achieves the Gold standard ‘Excellent Employer’ for their Apprentice programme.

Many congratulations to the Weir Group who have achieved the Gold standard ‘Excellent Employer’ status for the Make UK Engineering Apprenticeships: Employer Kitemark.

The Kitemark accreditation is part of the Make UK backed Engineering Apprenticeships: Best Practice Programme from Next Gen Makers.

Around forty companies are now actively involved in the Programme, including Todmorden based foundry Weir Group.  The companies involved range from blue chip firms such as Veolia, Wienerberger, Eminox, Ishida Europe, Thyssenkrupp Materials and KUKA, to SME’s including AE Aerospace, Brown McFarlane, Fablink Group and another UK foundry group, Thomas Dudley Ltd.

The Engineering Apprenticeships: Best Practice Programme has continued to grow at pace since its’ launch just over twelve months ago – and now represents an online community of UK engineering and manufacturing firms committed to achieving excellence in how they attract, develop, and retain young engineering talent through best practice sharing, whilst working to achieve best practice benchmarks.

During May 2022, the accreditation process for the Make UK ‘Engineering Apprenticeships: Excellent Employer’ Kitemark was undertaken by the inaugural cohort of companies, following the Kitemark launch on National Manufacturing Day in 2021. The only qualifying criteria being a minimum of three current Engineering Apprentices.

Pam Murrell, FICME, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation praised the Weir Group on achieving this Gold Standard, saying “Well done to the team at Weir Group on this achievement.  All companies need to ensure that they offer a good experience to their apprentices – they will be some of the best advocates for the business to their peers, so offering a good, constructive and well-organised programme will help to ensure retention too.   At a time of full employment attracting the best young talent is not easy, but is vital for the future of the UK casting and foundry industry.”

For these companies, the accreditation process included the completion of an Engineering Apprentice satisfaction survey by a minimum of 75% of their Engineering Apprentices, a survey completed by their Training Provider to gain their perspective of the employers’ approach and the company’s own self-analysis with regards to improvement, through the retaking of a Benchmarking Questionnaire initially taken on enrolment onto the Programme.

Since January 2022, a wide range of new companies have signed up to the Best Practice Programme and to pursue Kitemark accreditation; benchmarking their current approach to running their Engineering apprenticeship schemes against industry best practice, whilst learning from the successes of other firms to improve.

Companies now fall into one of two annual accreditation cycles, June, and January, and are either awarded the Gold standard ‘Excellent Employer’ Kitemark status, or the Silver standard ‘Aspiring for Excellence’.

All companies are re-accredited each year to retain the Kitemark or improve their achieved Kitemark level.



Angela Mason
Angela Mason