£3m training centre boosts skills levels for West Midlands manufacturers

Uncategorized Efforts to improve the skills and competency levels of workers in the West Midlands has received a major boost following a £3m investment in new facilities by training provider In-Comm.

The company has expanded facilities at its base in Vigo Place, Aldridge to create a dedicated 21,000 sq ft Training Academy.

The new facility is a true employer-led collaboration with no fewer than 12 manufacturers contributing investment, expertise and input into its development by identifying what their specific needs were.

Supporters have included ABB Robotics, Blum-Novotest, Engineering Technology Group, Hexagon Metrology, Houghton, Hyfore, IMI Norgren (Precision Engineering), Mitsubishi EDM and Zwick Roell.

These firms have supplied the latest CNC Machines, robotics, pneumatics and electrical controls and metrology and, importantly, delivered them in a way that can be used for training both apprentices and existing ‘skilled’ members of staff on new applications.

It has also benefited from support from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, which has backed the centre with £733,000 of Growth Deal funding.

The Technical Academy is equipped with world class CNC machine tools, automation, a robotics line, metrology, fluid power stations and a dedicated electrical and electronics section.

It will also house material testing, material handling and grinding capabilities, as well as a 16-seat Mastercam and CIMCO CAD/Cam studio to help students develop their design for manufacturing skills.

Gareth Jones, Managing Director of In-Comm Training, said: “This is a transformational project for the region and will ensure SME manufacturers have the capabilities and skills to remain competitive.

“The investment will create an additional 420 Trailblazer Apprenticeship places between now and 2022, whilst also providing 1,250 advanced learning opportunities. And this isn’t basic training; this is training that will explore automation, prototyping, R&D, operational excellence and real-time data analysis.

“This facility will help SMEs gain access to application engineers and state-of-the-art technology, which will allow them to product develop and process map prior to installing manufacturing cells into their factories. It’s the future of skills provision.”

The new academy will support the already-successful work being carried out by In-Comm, which has seen it buck the UK trend in declining apprenticeship levels.

While there has been a 61% decline nationally in apprenticeship levels, In-Comm has seen a 40% increase in its own numbers.

Achievement levels are also high with 87% of In-Comm’s apprentices hitting the mark, against 68% nationally.

The company has also received an Ofsted Outstanding rating for its training.

It is also playing a key role in service delivery at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT), the new training hub in Bridgnorth led by Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall and Salop Design & Engineering.