James Sopwith

Group Strategic Account Director, adi Group


Founded in 1990 with a vision to create a ‘one stop shop’ for total engineered solutions, adi Group is a large multi-disciplined engineering firm. The Group operates across 11 regional locations throughout the UK and Ireland.

James is a degree qualified Mechanical engineer and has been in the industrial engineering sector for over 25 years. Initially starting as design engineer, he has progressed through manufacturing management and industrial distribution to his current position as a Group Director of the adi Group. In addition to his role within adi Group, James also sits on the board of directors at the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), the second largest regional aerospace alliance in the world, along with being on the Regional Council of the CBI.

Having been within the industrial engineering sector for over 25 years, James understands the importance of passing on skills to the next generation. To help combat the industry wide skills shortage, he has been instrumental in creating opportunities to enable young people to gain experience in the world of engineering within the adi Group.

Whilst the Group has always had apprentices, to focus on this core talent pool, they launched their Apprentice Academy in 2014. This was then followed in September 2016 by creating the UK’s first Pre-Apprentice Programme in partnership with North Bromsgrove High School.

Aimed at those students who are potentially looking toward a hands-on engineering career, the pre-apprenticeship qualification offers students practical experience and employability skills. The first cohort of 12 students started their 2-year course in September 2016. Occupying 10 per cent of their overall GCSE curriculum time, the students spend half a day per week in a live workshop at adi’s headquarters in Kings Norton, working towards a certified qualification accredited by EAL (Excellence, Achievement and Learning).  A further class of 12 pupils have now been selected from the current Year 8 at North Bromsgrove High School and are set to join the scheme in September 2017.

James adds:

“According to Engineering UK’s 2016 report, 5.4m people in the UK work in manufacturing and engineering, delivering over 27% of the UK’s GDP. To fulfil new roles within the sector, 180,000 people with engineering skills need to be trained and qualified each year. To realise this requirement, it is vital to ensure young people receive the training they need to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.”

“With the current skills shortages in the creative, manufacturing and engineering industries, we are committed to helping young people gain an insight into the types of careers that exist in the field of design and technology. STEM subjects like Design and Technology are incredibly important and can lead to exciting engineering careers. The opportunities for young people in this sector are endless, so we are delighted to be ambassadors as part of the programme.”

Find out how adi Group is inspiring the next generation of engineers via their Pre-Apprenticeship Programme here:



Back to Design and Technology Ambassadors