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 won the regional finals (East of England) for this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards in the Medium Employer category. The Halstead based foundry became the first foundry to reach the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeships Employers list in 2016. 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. This year they have become the first foundry to win at the regional finals of the National Apprenticeship Award.

‘We are thrilled to have won the National Apprenticeship Award for Medium Employer of the Year (East of England). Aerospace foundry engineering is inherently complex and apprenticeships are vital to our long term success. They provide the perfect blend of theory and hands-on learning. Our students spend time working in our manufacturing departments, gaining an understanding of how castings are manufactured, machined, treated and inspected and it is very satisfying to see so many ex-apprentices now holding key engineering roles within the company.’


Dave Blower, Sales Director, Maycast-Nokes

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.

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 Apprentices

The 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.

‘Special thanks should also go to our training partners Colchester Institute, Harlow College, Institute of Cast Metal Engineers and BITECH as well as the Braintree District Education & Skills Board who we are working with to help drive apprenticeship uptake in the area.’


Dave Blower, Sales Director, Maycast-Nokes

Following on from their regional victory, Maycast-Nokes will be entered into the National Final to be held in January 2018.

 ‘The National Apprenticeship Awards allow talented apprentices and committed employers from across our regions to receive well-deserved recognition for their apprenticeship achievements. Winners recognised at these awards show the range of sectors and variety of job roles apprenticeships are available in, and how they can deliver the skills employers need. I congratulate all winners on their success so far and the very best of luck in the next stage of the competition.’


Sue Husband, Director, National Apprenticeship Service

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.