UK - Martin Manufacturing UK has been crowned champion of skills investment at the Semta Skills Awards 2015. Martin Manufacturing UK, which employs 48 people in Louth and makes a range of smoke boxes for the entertainments' industry, won the SME Investment in Skills category, sponsored by Pera Training.

They were presented with the award at a gala dinner in London's Park Plaza, Riverbank at an event hosted by TV presenter Michael Underwood and where Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, Matthew Hancock, gave the keynote address.

Jason Andrews, general manager of Martin Manufacturing, said: "Skills are important to our business - competing in the international marketplace we need to stay ahead of the game so we need the most skilled workforce we can muster.

"Some of our employees have worked for us for over 20 years and we need to ensure their knowledge is passed on to the next generation of engineers to secure the company's manufacturing in the UK.

"We want to promote, nurture and develop our own talent. Through its investment in skills and placing skills development and upskilling at the heart of its growth strategy, the company has facilitated a significant change in culture which is now having a huge impact on company performance."

Mr Hancock said it was vital that those who were engineering the UK's economic recovery were held up as examples for others to follow.

"None of the great engineers of the past had a traditional university background," said Mr Hancock. "All of them learnt the skills that transformed the nation on the job as apprentices.

"What we can learn from our Victorian forbearers is that the Industrial Revolution was dramatised through rock star engineers - Stephenson, Brunel, Bazalgette - they were not just famous for what they did but they were the rock stars of their day and investors put up money for all the unproven technology because of the excitement, hype and buzz that surrounded civil engineering at the cutting edge.

"It is vitally important that the nation regains this buzz. Celebrating success is one way we can do that."

Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, said: "Martin Manufacturing UK richly deserves this award. It is exactly the sort of approach which will engineer the skills for future generations and ensure the UK remains a key player in the UK economy with a world class workforce in advanced manufacturing and engineering."

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