Metalcraft started in the High Street in Chatteris in 1864. Today Metalcraft employs 120 people, of which almost 20% are apprentices, currently starting there training in the Fenland Engineering Skills Centre (FESC) located on their site.
In the late 1970’s Metalcraft had become involved in a new technology for healthcare known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) manufacturing the first equipment for this industry anywhere in the world.
By the turn of the century the MRI industry had started to grow significantly and as a result Metalcraft’s business also grew, peeking with an annual turnover of almost £25million in 2009. During the same period the business diversified into a number of different markets, in addition to the medical and nuclear industries.
We spoke to Martin Lawrence, Commercial Director at Metalcraft about his experience on our Peer Networks programme. With no involvement with Action Learning groups before Martin joined the group after encouragement from his boss.
He says that he liked the fact that the Peer Network employed Chatham House rules where everything that was being discussed remained confidential amongst the participants. He found the group coach was effective, both in chairing the sessions and in the 1-2-1 coaching he has received.
“There was very good interaction between the different people. There was very good support and advice from peers, and they were able to provide critiques on challenges presented from different perspectives”.
Attending one session every 2 weeks, he went on to say that a number of things that came out of the discussions around the challenge he presented were very helpful and useful. The people in his group came from different sectors and they all provided good insights and advice. The fact they all came from different sectors was very useful as they were all giving support from completely different perspectives. He thinks that this blend of different people was very useful
“Participants need to consider their willingness to devote time to belong to the network. As long as you are prepared to fully commit and contribute, it is very worthwhile being a member of this well organised group. It was definitely worth participating.”