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Black Country firm opens £3m technical academy and boosts West Midlands manufacturing

Black Country firm In-Comm Training has unveiled a new 24,000 square feet training space in Aldridge, Walsall. The aim of the technical academy is to help bridge the skills gap and get the region ready for the next industrial revolution.

The training centre is an employer-led collaboration with 12 manufacturers contributing investment, expertise and input into its creation. The state-of-the-art academy has received £733,000 of funding from Black Country LEP Growth Deal and is fitted out with world-class CNC machine tools, automation, a robotics line, metrology, fluid power station and a dedicated electrical and electronics section.

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

Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training, explained: “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 1250 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.”

He continued: “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.

“This year, we are 40 per cent up on the number of apprenticeships starts against a national decline of 61 per cent. That is a statistic that shows what happens when employers get really involved in developing the right skills and training provision so they are getting young people and staff that are not only fit for purpose, but also fit for the future.

“This Technical Academy will take it to the next level and will ensure SMEs in the Black Country and the West Midlands have access to the workforce and the technology that will make them globally competitive.”

Stewart Towe, Black Country LEP Chair, said: “The Growth Deal is helping the Black Country LEP to make a significant investment in, and change the landscape of, the whole Black Country. We are delighted to see this new build specialist training facility open to ensure there is continued hands-on skills development across the advanced manufacturing sector.

“By providing the facilities to support sector-specific skills development we are investing in our future workforce, who in turn will go on to contribute to the economic future of the Black Country.”

If you’re an employer looking to offer bespoke training visit In-Comm’s ‘working with employers’ page.

 

This article was published by Think Sandwell on 18.05.18

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