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Made Futures LIVE Interview with CBE+ Production Manager: A 12 Year Journey!

Motivating, diverse and challenging. The three words Richard Holdgate would use to describe his role at CBE+ as Precision Engineering Production Manager.

Richard, who was promoted in 2020 from team member to Production Manager, describes his typical day at work: “It’s my job to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. I start my day by looking at the priority of orders, so I can brief my teams on their daily workload and ensure all the machines are running.

This includes working with technical, production, sales and quality. I am the voice of the shop floor to management, so I even work with HR. It’s important to stay on top of communications with customers and I constantly cascade information to the team to make sure what we are doing is based on the most current information.”

Engineering requires a high level of skill and knowledge to solve real-life problems. Many of the products produced at CBE+ are used in are safety-critical applications, including parts used in aeroplanes and cars.

As part of his new role, Richard managed a high profile order for Ventilator Challenge UK. Tens of thousands of parts for ventilators had to be produced in a short timeframe at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, to support the NHS to save lives.

Richard commented, “The whole team worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with the shortage. It was hard, but we did it by working together.”
Richard’s interest in engineering was sparked at a young age. His father worked for Rolls Royce, so Richard had always been exposed to engineering environments and saw how his dad’s job impacted society. The prestige of his dad’s job inspired him to take an apprenticeship in manufacturing.

When it comes to developing future generations, CBE+ leads by example. One format of their renowned apprenticeship programme involves four days a week “on the job learning”, alongside a formal qualification studied one day a week at college or university.

This was the format of Richard’s programme, whose thirst for development was clear through him enrolling on additional courses alongside his BTEC throughout his apprenticeship.

Richard has since worked his way up the CBE+ career ladder, taking on even more training and development. Offering his advice to future stars of the manufacturing sector, Richard says:

“No matter what you do – work hard. Have a development plan and make it your goal to achieve it. Put 100% effort in and in the end, it will pay off.”