The first apprentices have joined the University of Wolverhampton’s Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills – with focus on building skills for the future.
The Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) is a new employer-led training facility for the Black Country designed to enhance productivity in the region’s high value manufacturing sector.
Apprentices have been recruited from a variety of companies including Grab Management Services, George Dyke Limited, CCR Wednesbury Ltd and Phoenix Pattern Tool Company and are currently studying Machinist and Pattern Making Pathways at the ECMS Spoke at Dudley College’s £12 million Advance II Centre.
The project is a collaboration between the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Dudley College, Cast Metals Federation, Confederation of British Metalforming and the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers. The ECMS Hub will be based at the University’s £100 million Springfield Campus and will deliver skills training through short courses and apprenticeships at three spoke locations in the Midlands – Tipton, West Bromwich and Dudley.
Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, part of the West Midlands Combined Universities, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the first of our new apprentices and to get a glimpse of the new building at Dudley College where some of our learners will be undertaking their exciting apprenticeship journey.
“Building on the region’s renowned industrial heritage, the ECMS Hub and Spokes will drive economic growth in the Black Country – and further afield – by providing specialist training to upskill the current and future workforce, helping to close skills gaps identified by employers.”
Lowell Williams, Principal of Dudley College, said: “Dudley College of Technology is delighted to be part of the partnership. We are providing a pipeline of highly skilled apprentices across a range of engineering disciplines, ready for further specialist upskilling through our collaboration with the ECMS.”
Will Rees-Hull, 21 from Coventry, is an apprentice on the Machinist Pathway with Grab Management Services. He said: “The facilities are great here at Dudley College and I’m getting the opportunity to learn new things and move around the different workshops, focusing on developing new skills.”
In the foreground from left to right: University of Wolverhampton Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Oakes, Kevin Kirk (Confederation of British Metalforming) with Will Rees-Hull (Apprentice – Grab Management Services) on the right. Back row: Ryan O’Toole (Dudley College Apprentice – Ansaldo Nuclear), George Cooksey (Dudley College Apprentice – Accura Geometric), Geraldine Bolton (Confederation of British Metalforming), Pam Murrell (Institute of Cast Metals Engineers) and Trevor Ayre (Institute of Cast Metals Engineers).