Now that its new 122,500 square foot headquarters at The Bridge in Dartford is complete, high technology manufacturing company SEM is working with The Leigh UTC to create new education and training opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships in both manufacturing and engineering.
SEM designs and produces high quality electric motors that are used in motion control industry sectors such as machine tools, renewable energy, and robotics. Although most of these products are exported worldwide, the company is committed to retaining its manufacturing base in the UK and to building a skilled workforce for the future.
“We make a world-class product and we need to bring young people into the company so that we can both develop our business and ensure its continuity,” said Michael Laming, CEO of SEM. “We are working closely with The Leigh UTC, our neighbours at The Bridge, to develop a comprehensive education and training programme. Ultimately, we are aiming for 10% of our employees to be apprentices.”
Along with manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships, SEM and The Leigh UTC are working together on a mentoring programme, work placements and engineering projects. SEM also sponsors the Arkwright Engineering Scholarships, which supports talented students through their A-Levels and encourages them to study engineering or technical design at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship.
“There is a skills shortage in North Kent and we firmly believe that the best way to prepare our students to work in the engineering industry is to work with local companies like SEM,” said Stephen Leahey, principal of the Leigh UTC. “This collaboration is an excellent opportunity for our students, particularly as the new SEM building is only a few minutes’ walk from the UTC.”
A joint venture between Dartford Borough Council and Prologis, The Bridge is a 264 acre mixed-use development that is growing into a new community for Dartford.
“We designed The Bridge to attract knowledge-based industries, such as SEM, to Dartford and we are delighted to welcome the team to their new headquarters,” said Paul Weston, senior vice president at Prologis. “We have worked closely with SEM to deliver a bespoke building and we are very pleased that the company is supporting so many new opportunities for young people locally.”