Foundry developing specialist skills to ensure continued supply of castings to the defence sector

Maycast Nokes Apprentice WorkshopMaycast-Nokes Precision Engineering Ltd, a leading UK manufacturer of high-quality castings, has become the first foundry to reach the finals of the National Apprenticeship Awards. The Halstead based foundry has reached the regional finals (East of England) for this year’s awards. In 2016 they became the first foundry to reach the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeships Employers list. They were amongst blue chip companies such as, Mercedes Benz, BAE Systems and IBM, being recognised for being one of the best employers in the UK for apprenticeships and skills development.

Foundry work is complex and takes years of experience and dedication to hone the skills necessary to produce quality castings. Aerospace grade castings are even more technically demanding. Faced with an ageing workforce and a shortage of locally available skills, the board of directors decided to formulate and fund their own apprenticeship programme in 2013.

‘We are proud to have reached the regional finals of this year’s awards. The continual development of engineering skills is vital, not only to Maycast-Nokes but also to the local community. Our focus on the retention and development of specialist foundry skills ensures our continued ability to supply fully machined castings into the defence sector. Our customers can be assured of a secure supply of castings in the long-term’.


Dave Blower, Sales Director, Maycast-Nokes

About Maycast Nokes

Maycast NokesMaycast-Nokes, is the UK’s most comprehensive aerospace casting facility. The company was established in the 1950’s as a tied-foundry producing shell moulded aluminium castings exclusively for Evans Electroselenium, manufacturers of laboratory and scientific equipment. During the 1980’s current owner and chairman Colin Richer expanded the foundry’s expertise to include a CNC machine shop. In 1993 Maycast Precision Products, a manufacturer of investment/lost wax aluminium castings, was purchased and Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering Ltd was formed.

With the addition of an investment foundry came more opportunities for aerospace work and allowed for further expansion of its machine shop. It has also enabled specialist post-build processes such as heat treatment and non-destructive testing. In addition to its foundry and machining services the company’s National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) approved x-ray and metallurgy departments are certified to write and sanction bespoke process techniques for companies wishing to test the integrity of their components.

Today, Maycast-Nokes is Halstead’s single largest employer and almost unrecognisable from its ‘jobbing foundry’ past. They offer fully finished precision sand, investment/lost wax, block investment and gravity die castings in aluminium and steel. The precision components produced by the company are used in some of the world’s most technically advanced aircraft and hypercars.

The company currently exports over 40% of its turnover and increased interest from overseas aerospace and defence contractors enabling Maycast-Nokes to invest more than £300, 000 in state-of-the art machining centres which will broaden the firm’s engineering capabilities and increase production capacity. Maycast-Nokes’ growth predictions are not only strong but also stable and the company is working on a number of projects with 20-30 year projected life spans.

About the National Apprenticeship Awards

Maycast Nokes ApprenticesThe National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their 14th year of running, recognise employers that cultivate their own talent through apprenticeships. Currently 10% of Maycast-Nokes’ team are apprentices. Their apprenticeship training covers precision sand casting, investment casting as well as metallurgy testing, NDT and machining.

 ‘Our finalists show clearly the impact of apprenticeships on skills and on how businesses perform. I applaud every finalist for getting this far and I look forward to celebrating the achievements and loyalty of winners. I wish everyone the best as we move into the next phase of this competition.’


Sue Husband, Director, National Apprenticeship Service

If successful on the day, Maycast-Nokes will be entered into the National Final to be held in January 2018.

To find out more about Maycast-Nokes click here.

Simon Papworth
Simon Papworth

Inward Investment Manager (High-Technology Cluster)

+44 (0) 7515 199255


Simon has worked in inward investment for the last four years, building a wide network of trusted business connections, working on a variety of successful projects in the advanced manufacturing sector. Prior to this, Simon spent 7 years advising business owners and entrepreneurs, with a focus on bringing innovative products to market.