Automotive supplier, Gestamp, has joined forces with In-Comm Training to boost its learning and development offer and support employee retention.
Gestamp, which manufactures metal components for use in car body structures, has invested in a dedicated training centre at its plant in Four Ashes in Wolverhampton.
The six classrooms are being used to deliver Lean Manufacturing Apprenticeships for a minimum of 60 existing team members every year, as well as a host of other development activities designed to increase the skills base of its 650-strong workforce.
The Gestamp Training Centre (GTC) took twelve months to develop and houses two In-Comm Training experts, as well as Gestamp training specialists to oversee the Level 2 course that combines theory with significant practical training on the shopfloor.
Recruited from all production areas within the business, staff undertake a ten week programme of training before completing an improvement project on the shopfloor and an endpoint assessment.
This project has been supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority, allowing Gestamp access to unspent levy funding by other organisations to use the apprenticeship model to develop existing staff and new recruits.
“We’ve transitioned and recruited up to 650 staff to our new Four Ashes manufacturing facility and, now this is complete, the next step was to get the Training Centre up and running,” pointed out Philip Carr, Learning and Development Manager at Gestamp.
“In-Comm Training has been supporting us with apprenticeships and upskilling courses for more than a decade, so are the perfect partner to team up with to make this a reality. In the first few weeks of the centre being open we’ve delivered over 1,000 hours of training!”
He continued: “Together, we’ve developed the dedicated learning space to support delivery of a Level 2 Lean Manufacturing Operative apprenticeship. Sixty of our employees are on the first cohort and we want to do the same number every year for the next four – meaning we’ll support nearly 250 people through this qualification alone. This is in addition to the 40 employees that are already enrolled on other Level 2 to 6 apprenticeships.
“In addition to boosting the skills within the business, we also want to give employees an incentive to stay with us. The current labour market is so competitive and ‘retention’ is just as big as recruitment for us.”
Gestamp invested more than £50m in the purpose built facility in Four Ashes, a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant which produces hot and cold stampings to all of the major automotive brands.
The company also invests heavily in its people and, in addition to the GTC, is working with In-Comm Training to deliver apprenticeships in toolmaking, robotics, skilled maintenance and continuous improvement.
Bekki Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at In-Comm Training, added her support: “This is another fantastic example of how we are taking an employer-led approach to bridging the skills gap in industry.
“It’s more than just delivering courses; it’s about working with manufacturers to identify current and future issues then creating innovative solutions that provide both short and long-term answers.
“This is what we’ve done with the GTC. It gives Philip and the team a home that they can call their own and, importantly, has opened up the ability to upskill nearly 250 people between now and 2027. There’s also a big focus on retention and giving individuals more reasons to stay and grow within the business.”
Gestamp’s Training Centre is the latest in a long line of major milestones for In-Comm Training and follows on from the launch of its £3m Technical Academy in Telford and the £1m Precision Tooling Academy at its HQ in the Black Country.
The latter is a UK first and provides a live commercial tool room for global projects and a professional training ground for the toolmakers and designers of the future.
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