£4m manufacturing tech hub praised for tackling skills shortage

Posted on 21 Sep 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology, which aims to create “engineers of the future”, has received the seal of approval from the government’s Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse.

More than 40 young people have signed up to be among the first cohort of students at the cutting-edge Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology following its recent open day.
Over 40 young people have signed up to be among the first cohort of students at the cutting-edge Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology.

Jake Berry MP visited the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) this week to view how an employer-led solution to bridging the skills gap is promising to boost competitiveness within the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

He praised the efforts of the Marches LEP and consortium partners – Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall, Salop Design & Engineering and training provider, In-Comm – for bringing this ambitious vision to reality and offering a potential blueprint for other areas to follow.

MCMT, which received £1.9m of Government Growth Deal funding via the Marches LEP and financial support from the European Regional Development Fund and Shropshire Council, is promising to deliver ‘2,020 learners by 2020’ through a combination of apprenticeships and specialist training to upskill existing staff.

The 36,000 sqft hub – located on the Stanmore Industrial Estate in Bridgnorth – will provide a high-tech environment for individuals to learn from engineering experts on the latest technology, all geared towards making them more industry-ready when they leave.

Berry received a guided tour of the MCMT during his visit, taking in dedicated fabrication, lathe, metrology, milling, robotics and vehicle trimming sections, as well as a specialist CNC Zone with more than £1m of machines donated by Engineering Technology Group (ETG).

He also met with the first cohort of apprentices to talk about their initial experiences, their passion for engineering and manufacturing, and how the centre will help them in their careers.

Managing director of the MCMT, Matthew Snelson explained: “We are doing something completely different here to address a real challenge for our local businesses and the regional economy.

L to R: Lauren Ball (MCMT apprentice), Jake Berry (Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse) and Matthew Snelson (MD of MCMT).
L to R: Lauren Ball (MCMT apprentice), Jake Berry (Minister for Local Growth & the Northern Powerhouse) and Matthew Snelson (MD of MCMT).

Chairman of the Marches LEP, Graham Wynn commented: “Our manufacturing businesses are often major employers with substantial supply chains.

“It is important for the vitality of the Marches economy that the manufacturing and engineering sector is able to thrive and that can only happen if our workforce is equipped with the right skills to meet employer demand.”

Due to officially launch on November 10, the MCMT has already received significant support from industry partners, who are donating equipment or providing their expertise to learners and companies accessing the centre.

These include: ABB Robotics, Engineering Technology Group, FBC Manby Bowdler, Filtermist, Hexagon Metrology, Mechatronics and Zwick Roell.

The UK’s biggest digital manufacturing show!

Liverpool and the North West’s advanced manufacturing is in the spotlight as the region plays host to 4,000 manufacturers from across the country at The Manufacturer Smart Factory Expo.

The UK’s largest standalone Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) expo coincides with the government’s much anticipated Industrial Strategy, and features:

  • Dedicated Exhibition Zones – Industrial Automation, Digital Transformation, Smart Factories, Industrial Internet
  • Free conference content – Close to 100 presentations from world-class manufacturers and technology experts over two days
  • Innovation Alley – lifting the lid on the UK’s manufacturing tech start-up scene
  • Hack & Pitch – real engineers, tackling real problems, in real time!