£2.75m from the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot, matched with employer funding, has enabled the opening of a new academy for glass manufacturing which will provide apprenticeship training and guidance on career pathways in the industry.
Sales of glass manufactured in the UK in 2011 were about £2.5bn.
This employer-led academy, which opens on February 5, will allow manufacturers in the sector to control the development and delivery of training for new talent. It aims to effectively bridge skills gaps which pose a danger to the competitiveness of glass manufacturing in the UK.
This threat is pressing and needs to be addressed by employers, rather than intermediaries, according to Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass, the trade body responsible for delivering the new academy.
“It is now vital that businesses begin to take the lead in helping Britain fight back and improve our global competitiveness,” he said.
“The Glass Academy has been created to ensure we can compete internationally with a workforce that is world class,” he added.
As well as training apprentices, the glass academy will highlight the diverse career pathways available in the manufacture and application of glass.
As well as obvious uses for glass in construction and tableware the material is fundamental to many of today’s most advanced technologies such as touch-screens for smart phones and tablets, solar and wind energy harnessing, medical devices and fibre optics for phone and broadband.
The academy is seeking to develop honed manufacturing, engineering chemistry and IT skills to support this wide range of specialist glass applications. Administrative and managerial skills for the sector will also be a focus.
Commenting on the launch of the Academy Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said “For British businesses to succeed and compete in the global race, they need a highly-skilled workforce that can meet the challenges of the future.”
He said that the Employer Ownership Fund has already committed nearly £90 million to help companies across Britain achieve this objective and added: “With applications for round two now open, I would urge more businesses – large and small – to consider how the fund can help them grow, from creating new apprenticeship programmes to setting up specialist training academies.”