First cohort signs up for £4m training hub

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.

Training Hub - L to R: Cllr Ron Whittle (Mayor of Bridgnorth); Christopher Greenough (Salop Design & Engineering); Matthew Snelson (MCMT); Cllr Elliott Lynch; Bekki Phillips (In-Comm Training), and Mike Roe (Classic Motor Cars).
L to R: Cllr Ron Whittle (Mayor of Bridgnorth); Christopher Greenough (Salop Design & Engineering); Matthew Snelson (MCMT); Cllr Elliott Lynch; Bekki Phillips (In-Comm Training), and Mike Roe (Classic Motor Cars).

The Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) opened its doors to give young people, parents and employers the opportunity to see how they can benefit from the ambitious venture that aims to provide ‘2,20 learning opportunities by 2020’.

Ron Whittle, the Mayor of Bridgnorth, joined more than 500 visitors at the Stanmore Industrial Estate facility, which is being run by a consortium of Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall, In-Comm Training and Salop Design & Engineering.

He praised the four employers for joining forces in a bid to start solving the county’s critical skills gap and commented on the scale of the MCMT and the amount of new technology that will soon be installed.

The Open Event was the first-time people could look inside the vast 36,000 sqft training hub, which used to be an old storage unit for Grainger & Worrall. There were 11 employer stands present, all keen to be matched with young apprentices looking to start their first step on the engineering and manufacturing career ladder.

The MCMT has received £1.9m of Government Growth Deal funding via the Marches LEP to create a training hub for young people, with £1.1m of private funding already pledged.

It seeks to provide a high-tech environment for young individuals to learn from engineering experts on the latest technology – all geared towards giving them opportunities to apply their new-found skills on real life manufacturing situations.

Managing director of the MCMT, Matthew Sneslon explained: “I think we’ve captured the imagination with this venture, where a company-led approach is harnessing public sector funding to creating Apprenticeships and upskilling opportunities that will make a real difference to firms in the county.”

He added: “The building should be handed over to us in a few weeks and then we’ll have the job of kitting it out with up to £2m of technology and machinery. We’re also still looking to recruit both employers and apprentices so there’s still time to be part of a ‘Shropshire first’.”

Located on The Stanmore Industrial Estate in Bridgnorth, the MCMT will house dedicated fabrication, foundry, lathe, metrology, milling, robotics and vehicle trimming sections, as well as a specialist CNC Zone and spray booth/mixing capabilities. There will also be an auditorium lecture theatre, bespoke learning environments, five vehicle ramps and a rolling road test facility.