Preparing today for the skills of tomorrow

The 45th WorldSkills Competition took place in August with 1,354 young professionals from 63 countries and regions demonstrating their strength in 56 skills across a range of sectors. The manufacturing and engineering sector was represented by skills such as CNC milling, welding, mechanical engineering CAD and electronics amongst several others.

Our manufacturing employers are only too aware of the need to attract and retain the skills required within their business but are the skills needed today going to be the skills required in the future?

According to recent research by BAE systems, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will strongly influence the careers of future generations. Almost half of young people (47%) aged between 16-24 believe that one day they will work in a role that doesn’t exist yet, but only one-in-five (18%) think they are equipped with the skills required to future-proof their careers. The findings also revealed that 70% of young people want more guidance on the skills that will be in demand in the next 20 years to help make more informed decisions on their further education and careers.

Do our manufacturers therefore need to engage with educational institutions to help direct training towards future skills needs ? Possibly.

The connected factory is fast evolving, with investment in intelligent machinery and robots improving efficiencies and reducing waste. It may therefore be more appropriate, whist waiting for changes in the education sector to feed through to think about re-training and upskilling current employees to be able to handle the jobs of tomorrow. Given the fact that the concept of “a job for life” is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, giving employees the opportunity to multi-skill and move around departments may be key to retaining them within the organisation and satisfying their need to move on/ try something new. The result should also be beneficial for the organisation, with a diverse multi-functional workforce who embrace change in a positive manner and improved recruitment potential in the coming years.

For more information related to this blog, please contact Ginni Cooper

Our 2019/20 Manufacturing & Engineering Survey is Now Open

We are running our annual Manufacturing & Engineering Survey which will help to compile a nationwide picture of what the sectors think. This is our eighth annual survey and although none of us have access to a crystal ball, your views in the here and now will help our specialist advisers gauge where the sector is and what can be done to support it through what may be an uncertain few years.

We will again be focusing on several core areas: Your business as a whole including business confidence and growth focusing on post Brexit, Industry 4.0 and recruitment.

The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes and once we have done the analysis you will receive the full report detailing the findings with case studies and commentary from industry experts.

Take part in the survey now. Click here

We are also delighted to confirm that Lloyds Commercial Banking are again supporting the MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Survey along with Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

You can read last year’s report here.

If you have any queries about the survey or would like to know more about the services MHA members provide, please contact Ginni Cooper on: or 01772 821 021.

Firm plays role in rubber manufacturing deal

MHA Moore and Smalley has advised on a major deal which has seen a Lancashire rubber manufacturer acquire a Cheshire counterpart.

Dexine Leyland Rubber Technology has purchased Lymm-based Elastomer Engineering as part of a strategic expansion programme.

The acquisition will enable Dexine to acquire significant intellectual property, along with a wide range of specialist equipment. Combined with Dexine’s current operations, this will significantly enhance product development and manufacturing capability for both businesses.

Established in 1966, Elastomer makes high specification rubber mouldings in all commercially available rubbers and cast polyurethanes. The business specialises in rubber-to-metal bonding and the processing of advanced materials, which it supplies to industries including defence and oil & gas. Elastomer has a turnover of £1.5m and an 18-strong workforce.

Dexine designs and manufactures complex elastomeric products and produces a range of rubber compounds, including products with oil and fire resistance properties, as well as vibration damping. The business supplies sectors such as defence, rail, industrial & chemical, oil & gas storage, and marine safety. With a £4m turnover, Dexine employs 32 staff.

The transaction will see Elastomer’s shareholders Christopher Gardner, John Gardner, and Michael Gardner stepping back to pursue other interests, while James Gardner will continue in a consultancy role in the business post-transaction. 

Chris Turner, a shareholding director at Dexine, has taken over the helm as Elastomer’s new managing director.

Chris said: “There are so many synergies between Dexine and Elastomer that both companies will benefit massively from this acquisition. We have acquired not only an extended product range available to all customers, but an enhanced capability with a range of specialised equipment unique in the industry. Customers will start to see immediate benefits.”

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at MHA Moore and Smalley, commented: “We are really pleased to have been able to help Dexine carry out its successful acquisition of Elastomer. As Chris, points out, the two companies are a very strong fit commercially and the combined entity creates a true centre of excellence in polymer technology and its practical applications.”

The corporate and commercial team at Harrison Drury solicitors also advised on the deal.

The Engine – Issue 5

At MHA Moore and Smalley we’re passionate about UK manufacturing and engineering. MHA members act for thousands of businesses across the country, including OEM’s, those in the supply chain, as well as engineering companies and tech businesses.

In this issue of the engine:

  • Are your back-office IT systems up to date?
  • The manufacturers’ profitability puzzle
  • Grappling with investment decisions 
  • Getting the most from your ‘Top Team’

We hope you find our publication useful and if there is anything that you would like to discuss further, please do get in touch with us by email at

Are SME’s being left behind in the digital manufacturing world?

As I have blogged about previously, Industry 4.0 or the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) has seen recent traction in the manufacturing landscape, but one of the main issues is the technology and implementation requires a significant initial investment, and costly ongoing operating costs.

SMEs are looking for readily inexpensive and easy digital solutions, they typically haven’t got IT departments as they often outsource this function, so as well as being low-cost, solutions need to be easy to use, and maintained by a 3rd party.

However, the technologies that are emerging, can be viable for SME manufacturers to gain access with technology centres sharing their equipment and expertise to reduce the impact of the initial investment, and ongoing costs.

SMEs should also look to implement Industry 4.0 in small steps, by identifying areas where the most value can be added to their business, making the technology work for them rather than it being just another expense for a bit more insight. As a starting point inexpensive machine sensors such as energy monitors could be installed to see which part of the production process used the most power, and then machine utilisation schedules could be altered for when power is cheaper. A series of small implementations such as this could kick start the SME Industry 4.0 movement.

Expenditure on machine sensors and adaptive components would qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) which is currently £1,000,000 a year from 1 January 2019 for 2 years, and the projects involving automation and system communications could qualify for the research and development tax reliefs.

If you would like to discuss this blog in more detail please email Paul Locker or call us on 01772 821 021.

Alternatively, please fill in the form below with your comment or enquiry and we will be in touch.

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Our annual CSR results for 2019 are in!

We have had another fantastic year at MHA Moore & Smalley. After sending out the survey to over 4200 clients, we have received an overall satisfaction score of 96%, a 1% increase on last years, already great, result.

This score is based on clients’ answers in response to questions that rate us in terms of communication, technical ability, commitment to each individual business, and our CRM.

Thank you to everyone who got involved. Delivering outstanding client service is at the heart of everything we do. Therefore it is wonderful to know that we are delivering on our mission, vision and values, as we continue to improve and strive to be the best we can be.

Take a look at this year’s results below

The Engine – Issue 4

Issue 4 of The Engine contains articles about: the MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Annual Report Launch Event, an interview with Arthur Hodgson from the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, sustainable manufacturing and the benefits that can be realised for your business, IR35 changes that are coming soon and research and development.

Annual MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report 2018/19

Drawing on national and regional insight from over 200 clients and contacts, the findings of our recent survey identifies opportunities and concerns facing UK manufacturing and engineering businesses. UK SME manufacturers and engineers remain optimistic and confident about future growth, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, rising production costs and skill shortages.