Manufacturing Hubs get apprenticeships on the march

Posted on 21 Sep 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Nearly 2,500 apprenticeships could be created in the Marches (Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin) as part of a £2.8m project which will see employers take the lead in developing workforce skills.

L to R: Christopher Greenough (Salop Design); Gareth Jones & Bekki Phillips (In-Comm Training); Nick Goldthorp (LEP); Graham Wynn, Steve Yardley & Matthew Snelson, (Grainger & Worrall) with apprentice, Sam Rawlings.
L to R: Christopher Greenough (Salop Design); Gareth Jones & Bekki Phillips (In-Comm Training); Nick Goldthorp (LEP); Graham Wynn, Steve Yardley & Matthew Snelson, (Grainger & Worrall) with apprentice, Sam Rawlings.

The Marches LEP is in the final stages of negotiations with three successful bidders to develop Advanced Manufacturing Hubs – regional training centres which would support employers and apprenticeships in parts of the region where there is limited access to workforce training.

The largest contract, at more than £1.9m, is a project led by four partners, Shropshire employers Grainger & Worrall, Classic Motor Cars Ltd and Salop Design & Engineering, alongside training specialist, In-Comm Training.

The consortium intends to develop the Marches Institute of Manufacturing and Technology which will deliver training in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury and aims to create 1,913 apprenticeships.

Notable business names that have chosen the Marches include:

  • BAE Defence Systems
  • GKN
  • Westons
  • Grainger & Worrall
  • Stadco
  • Caterpillar
  • Mϋller Dairy UK
  • Doncasters Aerospace
  • Denso
  • Capgemini
  • Ricoh
  • Cargill
  • Heineken
  • Grocontinental
  • McConnels
  • Kerry Ingredients
  • Special Metals
  • Kingspan
  • Makita

It is also expected to support more than 400 businesses and nearly 1,000 bite-sized training courses.

Chairman of the Marches LEP, Graham Wynn commented: “Additional capital investment is needed to support the manufacturing sector to develop their skills base, equipping them to maximise future opportunities.

“I am delighted that manufacturing employers have responded to our call for them to take the lead in developing how the skills needs of their workforce can be addressed.

“As a result, we are in the final throes of negotiations to award three contracts to consortiums with numerous private sector employers.

“The first hub to be developed will be at a site in Bridgnorth, and we expect to be able to announce details of the other two training hubs in the coming weeks.”

Director at Grainger and Worrall Ltd, Matthew Snelson explained: “Our objective is to develop engineers of the future, both as apprentices and in our existing workforces.

“The Institute will support companies large and small across our region, to become more productive, more competitive, and support sustainable growth”.

The training centres are due to open in 2017, with funding for the project awarded to the LEP via its initial Growth Deal for capital skills projects.

Growth Deals are awarded to LEPs through a competitive bidding process to fund the delivery of projects to boost the local economy. 

Gareth Jones, managing director, In-Comm Training and Business Services.
Gareth Jones, managing director, In-Comm Training.

Reaction from Incomm Training:

Managing director at In-Comm Training, Gareth Jones commented: “The Marches Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (MIMT) is a major step forward for skills provision in the area and gives employers much-needed access to specialist training and state-of-the-art facilities.

“Industry, and the automotive sector in particular, has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years and we need to ensure we are taking action now to upskill existing members of staff and, importantly, create a pipeline of new engineers to support ambitious expansion plans both at OEM level and across the supply chain.”

“We are ingrained with what industry needs and have already proved how, with the right support mechanism in place, employer-led training academies can be created…just take a look at our work at Metsec and ITAS in Shrewsbury.

“MIMT takes it to another level, with four companies joining forces to build a dedicated centre that will support over 400 businesses and create opportunities for nearly 2000 apprentices by 2018.

“We want to create an academy that is a focal point locally, regionally and nationally. It’s time that we reshored provision back to Shropshire and gave firms access to the best employee development opportunities on their doorstep.”

“A big thank you must also go to The Marches LEP, who have listened to what businesses want and came back with significant backing to start to turn the ambitious vision into reality.”