J8 Precision is one of the ‘wider partners’ in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (4-8th November 2013) which aims to change perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers, challenging outdated negative perceptions about engineering careers, particularly amongst women, and demonstrate the relevance of engineering to young people’s everyday lives.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), major engineering employers and institutions, and many of the country’s leading young engineers are joining forces to persuade more young people to pursue careers in engineering.
Other companies involved include the All Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships, Arup, British Science Association, Career Academies UK, EEF the Manufacturers Organisation, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, GE Aviation, Girlguiding, Jaguar Land Rover, National Apprenticeship Service, National Careers Service, Next Generation Skills and Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd.
Yet another family run company featured on this site, J8 Precision, an Aston engineering services company, was set up by Jack Edwards now technical director, and his sister, Kate Edwards a specialist in business and marketing, now managing director.
Services offered by J8 include precision machining,, conventional milling and turning, prototypes or development – and others listed here; the amazing range of materials worked with are listed here. One of them, Tantalum, was a mystery, until Wikipedia explained that it is rare, hard, blue-gray, lustrous transition metal that is highly corrosion resistant. Orders are regularly placed by Formula One motor racing teams and J8 undertakes production line tooling for supply chain companies such as GKN and TWR.
“The Edwards siblings have achieved this with virtually no outside financial support. With the exception of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, which helped with the cost of securing the ISA quality standards the company needs, all the banks and other business agencies they have approached for help have turned a deaf ear.
“Future problems may arise when costly new machinery needs replacing and also when skilled workers retire; Jack Edwards finds ‘a generation of skilled toolmakers missing’. Apprentices are opting for large companies like Rolls-Royce. J8 has tried bridging the skills gap by training two apprentice engineers itself. But they both left before completing their training. “As much as I would like to take more of them on we don’t have the guys to train them, and it is a very costly process,” Jack said.
As pointed out on another city website earlier, for far too many years far too many of Birmingham’s young have not been offered a purposeful future:
“People from our small and medium enterprises are needed to visit schools and telling their stories to pupils when still receptive – no older than nine years – then offering follow up visits to their workplaces”.
Kate Edwards’ plan is therefore most welcome: “ . . . to give factory tours to local schools and colleges and talks in local schools. I would like to use our ‘younger’ employees to do this as I believe they would engage more effectively”.