Frank Dudley employee beats field of 800 apprentices to claim award

A former cleaner at engineering company Frank Dudley Ltd has been awarded Apprentice of the Year in the adult category, by Dudley College.

Katie Green, 27, who has been with Frank Dudley (FDL) since 2012, was nominated by her assessor Jane Baddams and was announced as the winner on 29 May. The human resources assistant won the award from a total field of 800 adult apprentices studying an apprenticeship at Dudley College, one of Birmingham’s biggest further education institutions.

Katie is studying a Business Administration Diploma, Level 3, due for completion in August. She passed the Level 2 diploma in 2016 and is now studying for a CIPD course to top-up the Level 3 diploma.

“Doing this course has helped me really understand how the business works,” said Katie, who began working at FDL as a cleaner. “I want to progress further with my professional development and help FDL progress into new markets and grow the business.”

The award follows FDL commercial apprentice Tom Weaver’s In-Comm Training special commendation award presented to Tom on 19 May.

A formal ceremony to present the Dudley College awards will take place in September.

To congratulate Katie please contact her on 0121 452 8500 or

Frank Dudley apprentice’s efforts recognised at local business awards



A commercial apprentice at engineering manufacturer Frank Dudley Ltd won a Special Recognition Award at the annual In-Comm Awards in Wolverhampton on Friday 19 May.

Tom Weaver, 18, received the award that recognised a high all-round performance in learning, aptitude and value to the business from a total entry pool of 250 apprentices and young employees at West Midlands businesses, which included 33 winners and runners-up.

The judging panel said Tom, who started a commercial apprenticeship in sales and marketing at the Ladywood-based manufacturer in August 2016, stood out among the entrants for his capacity for learning in a short time period and his overall contribution to the company.

“I was impressed with the motivation and drive Tom had for his own development and the contribution he is making to the success of FDL outside of what would be the norm for an ‘apprentice’,” said Neil Lloyd, sales director of legal firm FBC Manby Bowdler and an awards judge.

“I was delighted to win, I hadn’t entered an award category so I didn’t expect to win anything,” said Tom, who is being trained to produce accurate customer quotations from component drawings, digital marketing and methods for how to grow the business. The In-Comm award, sponsored by the Rotary Club Foundation, is his first external employment award.

To congratulate Tom please contact him on 0121 452 8500, or Linked In.

Over £1,000 an Hour Raised for Macmillan Cancer Trust


The manufacturing community came together on September 30th 2016 to collectively raise donations for the Macmillan Cancer Trust.

Right from the moment you are diagnosed with cancer, through your treatment and beyond, Macmillan are a source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you feel more like yourself. Macmillan are millions of supporters, professionals, volunteers, campaigners and people affected by cancer. Together they make sure there’s always someone there for you, to give you the support, energy and inspiration you need to help you feel more like yourself again. We are all Macmillan.

The morning hosted at FDL received tremendous support from the local community with donations totalling £4,000, not bad for an event running from 9 to 12. We would like to thank the 166 attendees who made the morning possible and everyone who made a donation, below are just a few of the key sponsors of the morning;

sponsor footer for macmillan website 21The harsh reality is that Macmillan wouldn’t be possible without mornings like these, and it is hard to find someone who hasn’t been directly or knows of an individual who has been affected Cancer. This is why we chose to support this fantastic charity and why we are so proud to present the team at Macmillan with our donation and announce that next year we will be running the event again.

A series of videos have been produced from the morning, please watch, like, comment and share these videos to hopefully inspire more companies to host a coffee morning.

Courtesy of Kuka Robotics & MTDCNC


Courtesy of Alex Cave of Cave Co and MIM.

Tom Weavers, Commercial Apprenticeship: 3 month review, I’m going to be MD



Our Commercial Apprentice, Tom Weaver has written the below article on his first 3 months in employment, please read, share and like. We agree the manufacturing community needs more engaged apprentices, so lets celebrate the ones who are.


Tom Weaver – Future MD


In a weeks’ time I will have been at Frank Dudley Limited for 3 months, and I’ve progressed quite a lot. Meetings have gone from empty stares at customers and suppliers, to actually understanding content and taking down some helpful notes! I’ve also broadened my capabilities here, by observing and retaining information from Josh and several other members, allowing me to assist with quoting and to constructively contribute to ongoing projects. My time at work is seldom monotonous, with quoting, contacting associates and compiling data making up the bulk of my work load. No two enquiries are the same, and it is always engaging working out process routes and feasibilities.

Three months down the line of employment at FDL, I have completed 2 exams on my Level 2 accompanying college course, and I’m really starting to get to grips with things. Progress in the work shop is good, with about 50% of the practical work remaining, not to mention, my dedication to the academic side of the qualification has really paid off, with two high scoring marks, two distinctions. The lads at LEMA Academy are always a good laugh, however, I feel 25 weeks down the line when there’s work to be done we can all focus on the current task, and all work together, especially when one of us needs a hand. On the college day each week it is quite obvious where each of our strengths and weaknesses lie, and just like in the work place we can, between ourselves, allocate smaller tasks to pull together to produce a quality finished product. LEMA is enjoyable, however I am looking forward to completing the college course as I can then fully focus on my development and future role here at FDL.

My job role here at FDL is still the same, yet it is widening as I am picking up new skills, allowing me to get more involved with enquiries and projects as my time here increases, to complete more complex and challenging tasks that employees such as Josh carry out every day. The key change that I am experiencing at FDL is the growing independence and freedom to work with guidance, rather than through observation. I am keen to develop on this, especially as I can see where my work is going, and why it is beneficial. This really pushes me to achieve, and make sure I’m spot on each time as I understand that a large proportion of my work in the future will be going directly to customers once the team here, take a step back.

Although I am a commercial apprentice, working predominately in marketing and sales, I am still getting a high level of knowledge about all of the aspects of the company, and thus the industry as a whole. This knowledge will aid in quotation and conferring with a wide range of customer, not to mention it is interesting and is helping me to understand reasons behind many of the mandatory processes, at LEMA and FDL. A key event that I was keen to get involved with was the Macmillan Breakfast Morning last month. I helped staff here to invite other companies, arrange the spacing to fit all the attendees in, and to give a guided tour of our shop floor. Whilst I was apprehensive about it all, the tour in particular, I found myself coping far better than expected, with the hours of one on one mentoring with Josh proving invaluable in this situation.

To summarise; I am fitting in nicely and getting on with the multitude tasks at hand, I am being made to feel welcome by the whole team, and I am dedicated to achieving and progressing, through and with FDL in the near future.




FDL Supporting FBCMB and Leasowes School

Friday 7th October, Josh Dudley-Toole our Business Development Manager supported Leasowes School in Halesowen for their Year 7’s Career day.

The day was being run by Enterprise Advisor, Neil Lloyd of FBC Manby Bowdler. Neil invited FDL along to support the morning because of the commitment FDL has shown in the past to the next generation. Through the morning we entertained tables of 10 to 12 students who where tasked with guessing our careers in total over 170 students made contact with 12 local businesses. Apparently Josh looks like he belongs in the movies!!!

Stats show if a pupil has more than 4 points of contact with businesses and opportunities the individual is more likely to enter into higher education, training or become employed after 16.

The pupils and schools need support from more sectors and businesses. With this in mind we invite all EA’s and schools to include FDL in the programs they are running and to get in contact with Josh today. We can only stress to fellow businesses to get involved and show their support to the next generation. To many businesses highlight the skill gap and show no support in closing it. Lets change our mentality and start to work on a brighter future.

Credit to those involved: FBC Manby Bowdler, Frank Dudley Ltd, CSCM Ltd, In-Comm Training, Business In The Community, Dudley Educational Partnership, Lawrence Cleaning, DHL, Kuka Robotics, Sandvik, Investec and OMG OnLine.




Coffee Morning Supporting Macmillan Cancer Trust



Help support a fantastic charity and promote UK Manufacturing!!!

YOU can help Macmillan Cancer Support break a world record by attending Frank Dudley Limited’s Coffee morning.

FDL will be opening its doors at 9am on Friday 30th September 2016, to all of our customers, suppliers and affiliates to collaboratively show our support to this great charity.

Breakfast rolls, teas, coffees, soft drinks and cakes will be supplied throughout the morning for a small donation and a factory tour to those interested will also be available.

Please sign up to our event by clicking here or following the below link;

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and look forward to seeing you in the near future.

If you have any questions please get in touch with Josh today by phone (0121 452 8500) or by mail (

A great deal of support has already been shown from our partners with the below companies making a generous donation to the charity, if you would like an area to showcase your business on the day please get in touch with Josh.


Update 07/09/16

The Proving Factory are donating prizes to our raffle, tickets will be £5 on the day and will include an array of prizes.

Thanks to Narinder for supporting.

Update 05/09/16

Jonathon Lee Recruitment are supporting with prizes for our raffle and a donation to the charity.

David Woakes has made this all happen, big shout out to him.

Update 03/09/16

Coinadrink have confirmed they are supporting by donating the coffee for the morning, remember to bring lots of change to donate to this great charity.

Fellow Made in the Midlands Members supporting each other, thanks Tom for the kind gesture.


Update 15/08/16

Three Way Pressings have donated an onsite UK manufactured Wheelbarrow full of prizes worth over £150 to our raffle. Tickets will be £5 on the day, if you cant make the day but would like to get involved with the raffle, make a donation through Eventbrite or contact a member of the team today for other methods of donation and we will include you on the draw.

Big thanks to Phil and the team at Three Way!!!


Update 12/08/16

Mercer Consulting have kindly donated a team of volunteers for assistance in marketing the day, raising money and setting up.

Big Shout out to Barry and his team for the support!!!




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Frank Dudley Celebrate the impact of Jill Dudley-Toole after 68 years in the business

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Frank Dudley Ltd (FDL) identified 2015 as the year that the automotive industry gained momentum. With Jaguar Land Rover’s record year, apprenticeships finally being supported and profitability overall in the manufacturing industry increased, who can argue?

It was also the year that we saw the positive movement to support female engineers, leaders and entrepreneurs.

FDL Chairlady, Jill Dudley-Toole said: “Women used to be considered as, cleaners, operators and office staff in Manufacturing. No man would let us lift heavy weights or recognise our intelligence for engineering. That has all changed over the last ten years, it is great to see so many females in manufacturing. There are now so many females challenging for leadership roles and both sexes working as a team for the benefit of UK Manufacturing.”

In 1948, Jill’s father, Frank founded FDL and started the family-run business. In turn, all five of his children worked in the business in a variety of roles. This included, working on the hand press after school, taking parts in wheelbarrows to the local platers and completing paperwork for the invoices. This ensured that each family member had a role within the business.

Jill has been the Managing Director, Production Manager, Purchasing Manager, Office Manager, Labourer and Operator. This year, we want to highlight the need for more women to join the manufacturing industry. We want more female involvement, more female engineers and more female managers in our diverse culture.

Jill explained: “The only way to get respect was to earn it. You couldn’t not work if the men were in. When they opened, I had to be there, when they left I was there. No job was too heavy or too dirty, anything they could do, I did.”

Between the 1970’s and 90’s engineering and manufacturing was very much a male- dominated environment. At the time, Jill would have been one of a handful of female shareholders in the industry and strived to make a difference.

One of Jill’s most memorable moments was created by the support of the Press Shop Manager, Dougie Frogget. Jill explained: “Dougie was a fantastic person and the best engineer we have ever had.” Dougie was a rough and ready engineer who had a lot of respect for Jill and her ethos. With Dougie’s engineering prowess and Jill’s entrepreneurial and engineering background a strong FDL team was in the making.

During the mid-90’s, FDL continually grew with Jill at the helm, but little did she know that one of the most important decisions of her career was about to approach her. Dougie became aware that a seven operation job from a large customer was making a loss. He consulted Jill, and they began working on turning the job into a profit. At this point FDL’s capacities were 25-150T and they were very much a small parts manufacturer. Dougie was made aware of a 300T press, with an operating area suitable to host all of the operations in one machine rather than seven. Dougie recommended to Jill that FDL purchase this larger press. In turn, Jill became one of the first second tier suppliers to take the plunge into medium sized presses and looked towards a successful future.

With the new technology and larger capacities the company grew stronger. More investment in two 500T machines, pick and place units and larger coil fed presses enabled Jill to approach a larger customer base by being able to supply small to large presswork.

Jill is a testimony to all UK Manufacturers, male or female, as she has shown a vast amount of determination in supporting equality in the workplace. She has navigated four recessions and come out stronger each time and shown the industry no matter the issue, if you get your head down and work through it as a team, you will become a stronger unit and build on your successes.




We are exhibiting at the Made in the Midlands Expo on Thursday 12th May and would love you to attend.

When you check in come and say hi, we are located just to your right, you can’t miss us. If you have the floor plan we are on Stand 26.


All you need to do to enter is guess when, Frank Dudley, our founder was born, hand in your business card with the date on the back and we will announce the winner on the day.








Frank Dudley Ltd welcomes a new team member to The Board of Directors

Frank Dudley Ltd would like to announce the appointment of Graham Foxall to the Board of Directors. Graham has been instrumental in taking FDL forward after the recession of 2008. Frank Dudley’s customers, benefit from his technical prowess and never fail mentality.

Graham started as an apprentice at Salter Springs in 1976 and has grown his skills and knowledge base since. His progression from a Tool Maker, to the esteemed Operations Director he is today has only been possible because of the successes he has created within the many departments he has managed. His Quality Management background gives him in-depth knowledge and key decision making skills for the production team. The Commercial and Projects roles have given him the customer focus required to manage in a successful manufacturing business today.

To learn more about Graham visit

We would like to invite you to congratulate Graham personally by calling him on 0121 452 8500 or emailing


Stainless Steel Pressings & Stampings

Stainless Steel Pressings & StampingsFrank Dudley prides itself on Turnkey solutions that add value to our customer base. Stainless Steel Pressings & Stampings are just one of the many materials we manufacture. With the ability to take your stainless steel pressing from prototype to mass production, create a sustainable, reliable, and recyclable product Frank Dudley are the choice manufacturer in the UK.

Stainless Steel Pressings & Stampings

Stainless steel is a great choice of material to reduce finishing costs, but comes with severe repercussions if not handled and manufactured in the correct way. Ferritic stainless steel pressings are particularly desirable for their aesthetic appearance, you would be familiar with these products from your dentist and doctors surgeries. Stainless steel is anti-corrosive and resistant even in wet and damp environments. However, when regular or coated steels are exposed to these environments, they may deteriorate, whereas stainless steel pressings and stampings will retain their cosmetic appearance and performance qualities, thus making them the sensible choice where appearance is key. A few examples would be: vehicle interiors, white goods and electricals.

Composition of Stainless Steel
With the endless specifications and compositions of stainless steel, it is always best to seek advice on the most suitable variant for function and manufacture. Our teams are more than happy to assist and if we don’t know, our affiliation with local Universities gives our customers access to the expert advice.

Cost Savings with Stainless Steel
With Stainless Steel not requiring protective finishes or coatings against the elements, the additional cost on raw material compared to mild steel can be offset against a minimal cost, usually £0.

The unmatchable finish and permanence of stainless steel can also be applied to brightwork. Although this is usually on lower volume specialised vehicles, it is not out of reach for high volume applications if the correct process is applied. Stainless is not just for the reserve of prestige products, it also requires a specialist understanding of how to get the best out of this remarkable material.

To enquire about your stainless steel product, please call the team on 0121 452 8500 or visit our website at