Tuesday, June 16, 2015

News: Newburgh's Middleton awarded OBE


Vincent Middleton, chairman of Newburgh Engineering Ltd, has been recognised with an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2015 for services to advanced manufacturing skills training.

Established by Vince's grandfather, Isaac Middleton over 75 years ago in the small Peak District village of Bradwell, Newburgh has grown into an internationally-renowned, award-winning business that specialises in manufacturing medium to large precision engineering components and assemblies.

Newburgh survived the harsh economic climate of the 1980s and under a new management team, the company created new customer-focused "cells" as the company focused on creating long-term partnerships, which developed a culture of complete transparency between the supplier and customer.

The cells include dedicated groups of resources operated by a team of multi-skilled individuals that are committed to producing a product or products for one customer.

After expanding as much as was possible on the rural Derbyshire site, and having experienced major problems recruiting, Newburgh needed to establish a new site. In 2004, a purpose built facility was constructed at Templeborough, Rotherham, which has since expanded to 135,000 sq ft of modern manufacturing space.

As well as investing in new premises, Newburgh invested in new staff and spearheaded a drive to develop its own apprentices. Led by Vince Middleton, other engineering company leaders were invited to join and devise a solution to their shared frustrations of not being able to find people people with the skills they required. The plan was to design a new kind of apprenticeship, based on the old style four-year programme. It was modernised and with the support of the action group, rolled out using Brinsworth Academy of Engineering as the training delivery provider.

Middleton told his local paper, The Ashbourne News Telegraph: "Newburgh opened up a significant factory in Rotherham in 2004 because it hoped to find skilled people for the business. But it found there was no real provision or training and so we called out to like-minded businesses to help tackle this skills problem.

"And you can really see the difference when you think back – if we advertised for eight applicants back then, we'd maybe get about two people to come back to us and neither would be very good for the role. Now, we'd get 400 people apply for those positions and they would be of good calibre too.

"There's been a dramatic advancement in manufacturing and engineering training in South Yorkshire, which has seen the region go from bottom in the country to top in this area.

"We've done some satisfying work in South Yorkshire and it's lovely to see this has been acknowledged."

An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) is awarded for having a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.

Today, the company employs 148 employees (20% of which are current apprentices) over the two facilities. Around 90% of Newburgh staff are apprentice-trained, including all management right up to the present managing director, David Greenan. Its turnover has grown to over £11m - an impressive feat during a recession.

In its 75th year in 2014, Newburgh Engineering decided to split its two sites, Rotherham and Bradwell, into two separate businesses. Newburgh Precision Ltd, the high-tech precision engineering sub-contractor with a facility in Rotherham, has expanded its apprentice training school and invested in new equipment, taking on twice as many apprentices.

As well as co-founding the innovative work-wise programme that helps young people gain the work ready skills they need in order to take up apprenticeships and jobs, Middleton was named the first industrial chair of the AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham. He is pictured going "back to the floor" at the £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

Newburgh website

Images: AMRC Training


Paul Hesp June 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM  

Well done Vincent, thoroughly deserved! It's great to see rural businesses flourishing and taking their opportunities into the wider regions. The training initiative with Brinsworth was a stroke of innovative genius! I'm sure you'll go from strength to strength.

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