Former apprentice is named as a top manufacturing professional

A Birmingham-based apprentice who is now a manufacturing director has been named as one of industry’s Top 100 professionals.

Stuart Berry
Stuart Berry

Stuart Berry, of Hednesford, who joined metal stamping and tooling specialist Brandauer 15 years ago, was recognised by The Manufacturer as an exemplar in the innovation, inspiring leader and young pioneer categories.

The passionate advocate of engineering impressed judges with how he has used vocational learning to progress to the very top of his profession, securing a ‘first class’ B Eng Honours degree in Management of manufacturing systems in the process.

Judges at the high-profile event in Liverpool also praised his role in helping the company diversify into new markets, combining a strong production methodology with a commitment to the latest technology, delivering a host of product introductions for a male grooming product, nose clips for face masks and wafer-thin laminations for electric vehicles.

Stuart said: “There are some things in life that take you completely by surprise and this is one of them. To be named in the top 100 manufacturing professionals in the UK is a massive honour, to be named an exemplar in that prestigious field is mind-blowing.

“From the minute I stepped on the shop floor at Brandauer, I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could and progress in industry. Sometimes it’s about finding the right company that gets you and you get them, that’s what happened here and we’ve both benefitted.”

More than 250 people gathered at The Exhibition Centre in Liverpool to recognise the best talent in UK manufacturing.

Stuart, who was joined on stage by Make UK’s Stephen Phipson and Donna Bruce of Northern Lights, has recently played a key role in the development of the UK’s first £1 million precision tooling academy in the West Midlands.

A joint project between Brandauer and In-Comm, the purpose-built commercial toolroom in Aldridge will produce complex tooling, as well as acting as a professional training ground for the toolmakers and designers of the future.

This is a vital move for domestic industry, with the sector being held back by a severe lack of toolmakers and the very real possibility of losing these essential skills forever as older workers choose to retire.

The Precision Tooling Academy aims to reverse this trend by offering companies access to professional toolmaking courses, training opportunities for qualified engineers looking to diversify their skills and a Level 6 tool process design apprenticeship to develop the next generation of talent.

Training will be unlike anything currently on the market, with up to 35 individuals in the first 12 months able to learn on live tooling projects that will be producing hundreds of thousands of parts every week and, under Stuart’s guidance, will give Brandauer and other tooling experts the opportunity to reshore more manufacturing projects from Asia, the EU and the US.

Stuart concluded: “Embarking on an apprenticeship has been so good for me and that’s something I want to get across to the next generation…this Top 100 title will definitely help me to do that.”

The Manufacturer Top 100 are the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing, as nominated by a 265,000-strong audience, the wider industrial community, and judged by an esteemed panel featuring leaders of industry, academic institutions and manufacturing associations.

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