In-Comm Training has joined forces with Hyfore to boost skills with an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre in Walsall.
Backed by the Black Country LEP’s Growth Deal, the plan to boost manufacturing skills will see the creation of an additional 16,000 sq ft of space that will be fitted out with CNC machine tools, automation and a robotics line, fluid power stations and a dedicated electrical and electronics section.
It will also house material testing, material handling and grinding capabilities, plus a 16-seater Mastercam and CIMCO CAD/CAM studio to help students develop their design for manufacturing skills.
Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training, said: “Things are happening to bridge the skills gap, but not many firms have thought about the competency gap and that involves looking at equipping firms in the West Midlands with the technical and advanced skills they need to make the most of global opportunities.
“This extension, which gives us a combined space of 21,000 sq ft, will address this issue and create a world class training hub that will provide an additional 420 Apprenticeship Trailblazer places between now and 2022. We will also aim to provide over 1200 upskilling courses in prototyping, R&D, operational excellence and data analysis.”
He added that SMEs should be prepared to embrace Industry 4.0 by taking advantage of increased connectivity and real time data and automation.
“This facility will help SMEs gain access to application engineers and…technology that will allow them to product develop and process map prior to installing manufacturing cells into their factories,” said Jones.
Work on the £1.5m extension will start shortly and will be completed by the 4th September to welcome a new apprenticeship intake.
In-Comm will utilise Hyfore’s experience in advanced engineering, turnkey projects, CNC machining and prototyping to fit out the centre with equipment and in finalising some of the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Courses.
The duo has also enlisted the support of the Engineering Technology Group in supplying the CNC machine tools, Halter for the Robotic Systems and Mastercam and CIMCO for the design of the CAD/CAM suite. Sulzer Dowding & Mills will provide their expertise in motors, whilst IMI Precision Engineering will be supporting the fluid power installation.
Hyfore’s joint managing director Gary Dickenson said: “The UK has a great opportunity to be at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, but we’re not going to compete with our international rivals without ensuring the skills pipeline is expansive and delivering what manufacturers need.
“Government can only do so much. As an industry, we need to do our bit and our involvement in this Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre at In-Comm is a further commitment to generating the engineers of the future.”
In-Comm is also involved in the launch of the £4m Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT), a training hub in Bridgnorth that is being led by Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall and Salop Design & Engineering.