Company benefiting from WMCA support to train more apprentices wins top award

A Birmingham company, which is benefiting from a fund set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to train more apprentices, has won a top award for its apprenticeship programme.

Lander Automotive, which has taken on an additional 25 apprentices thanks to the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund set up by the WMCA, is a regional winner in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2019 in the Large Employer of the Year category.

The company, which was also highly commended in the Recruitment Excellence category, is now going forward to the national finals in London on Wednesday 27 November.

Company benefiting from WMCA support to train more apprentices wins top award

L-R Anita Davenport-Brooks, people, culture and compliance manager at Lander Automotive, apprentices Jade Pickles and Tyrone Collins, and Georgina Barnard, commercial director at Dudley College of Technology

The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund was created by the WMCA to cover training costs for more apprentices in the region, through large employers donating a portion of their unspent apprenticeship levy to smaller companies.

Julie Nugent, Director of Productivity and Skills at the WMCA, said: “Lander Automotive is a great example of how the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund is helping to create new jobs and training opportunities in the West Midlands.

“I’d like to congratulate the company on their success in the National Apprenticeship Awards and wish them the best of luck in the finals.”

Lander Automotive, of Woodgate Business Park, manufactures fluid and air carrying pipes, tubular fabrications and interior trim assemblies to the global automotive industry, which includes a variety of car manufacturers.

The company’s people, culture and compliance manager, Anita Davenport-Brooks, said: “The levy transfer fund is enabling us to recruit more apprentices and offer them higher level qualifications through our training provider Dudley College of Technology, with opportunities for further progression. In the New Year, we will be taking on a further 18 apprentices thanks to the fund.

“We originally started our apprenticeship programme because we needed to bring new talent into our business for succession planning. The value of apprentices is fantastic – they are the future of the industry. Many stay with us after their apprenticeship has finished, and those who leave have gained qualifications and experience to give their career a great start.

“We’re very proud to win an Apprenticeship Award, especially as we were competing against much larger organisations.”

The company currently has 398 employees – of whom 108 are apprentices – and 150 agency workers. Over the past three years, it has been recruiting 15 apprentices every eight weeks and training them with the support of Dudley College of Technology.  

The apprentices whose training is being paid for by the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund are working towards Level 4 or Level 3 qualifications for a career in the engineering or manufacturing sectors.

Apprentice Tyrone Collins, aged 21, said: “I’m currently working in the toolroom, which is the maintenance area of the business. It’s really good experience, both of working in a team and on my own initiative. I’m specialising in machinist training and once I’ve completed my Level 3 qualification, I’d like to go onto Level 4 and be fully qualified as a toolmaker.”

Apprentice Jade Pickles, aged 21, added: “My apprenticeship has shown me what it’s like to work, as well as doing training. I’m learning from lots of experienced people – and it’s great to get paid too.”

Georgina Barnard, commercial director at Dudley College of Technology, said: “We’re delighted to support the Lander Apprenticeship Programme, which fulfils future careers for our young people by training them in advanced manufacturing skills that are the key to the future success of our economy.”

The apprenticeship levy is charged by HM Revenue and Customs on all businesses with a payroll over £3 million.

The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund keeps levy money within the West Midlands region by enabling the WMCA to partner large organisations with local smaller companies. This means the large employers donate a portion of their unspent apprenticeship levy funds to the smaller businesses, covering 100% of their apprenticeship training and assessment costs.

So far, more than £5m has been contributed as a result of large organisations joining the WMCA partnership, boosting skills and productivity by supporting more young people and adults of all ages into work.

The WMCA is calling on employers who may not have considered hiring apprentices to tap into the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund. Large organisations are also being encouraged to get in touch to discuss transferring their unspent levy. For more information, visit or contact

Watch Anita Davenport-Brooks from Lander Automotive, together with apprentices Tyrone Collins and Jade Pickles, and Georgina Barnard from Dudley College of Technology, talking about the benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund here