Lander Automotive MD Peter Tack talks about future skills and current challenges

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Peter-Tack-290X217Lander Automotive is a leading supplier of assembled products in the Automotive Sector, specialising in fluid and air transfer systems, structural assemblies and interior trim assemblies.

Headquartered in Birmingham, they develop most of their workforce’s skills in-house. They recruit 15 apprentices every 8 weeks.

Since July 2016 Lander Automotive have recruited 85 apprentices and intend to recruit another 105 apprentices over the next 18 months - an equivalent increase in the number of on-site apprentices of 400%.

 

How do you approach skills development at Lander Automotive?

We have made a major effort to develop our own team and their skills - from apprenticeships to directors - so a lot of work and investment is going into training and development across the business at every level. Our apprenticeship program has won several awards, including SME employer of the year at the Government's National Apprenticeship Awards. 

The market place is a little bit saturated due to low unemployment, so we have a challenge with sourcing certain skills, since the ruling market price is disproportionate to the skill level, which makes it difficult for us to employ externally. We would prefer to develop younger team members in the Lander way.

 

How are robotics and automation affecting jobs and skills?

We have recently invested in automating three lines in our Birmingham plant. For us so far the impact of robotics and automation is limited because we have customers that ensure they offer their customers a wide variety of product choice, so instead of getting very high running single references across the business we get high product variation to manage. So, it’s not easy for us to automate all of our products, which means we have got a mixed bag. Where it suits we will automate, but with high variety we probably won’t automate in the near future.

We have been using robotics for a number of years and have good robotics skills in-house. We have cell groups that produce metal seat structures and operate robot welders.

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Are you reskilling your workforce?

We do some reskilling but in a more limited capacity from the main employee development program. We will need to do more reskilling and upskilling in the near future as we move up the food chain in robotics.

 

What is your main challenge regarding skills?

Finding the people with the quality technical engineering skills that we need is difficult. We need to ensure we continue our programme of developing our young apprentices into core roles to avoid dependence on the external market.


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