ECMS and In-Comm Training unite to boost manufacturing skills

The University of Wolverhampton’s Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) and In-Comm Training have formed a partnership to help boost Britain’s manufacturing skills.

manufacturing skills
(L-r) Ian Fitzpatrick, chief executive at the ECMS, with Gareth Jones, MD at In-Comm Training

The ECMS’ new National Power Press and Tooling Centre will be located at In-Comm’s Aldridge academy and will focus on delivering toolmaking apprenticeships and technical courses for over 2000 people.

More than £1.4m has been invested into creating a modern toolroom that includes a full transfer press line incorporating two 110 tonne C frame presses, robot transfer, servo feed technology and decoiling equipment, all supplied by Bruderer UK in conjunction with Worcester Presses. A £500,000 high-speed precision Bruderer BSTA-280 press will also be arriving to complete the line-up.

Gareth Jones, managing director at In-Comm Training, said: “We have listened to what industry wants and designed a centre that is equipped with world class machinery and where world class training will be delivered by some of the finest technical experts in the business.

“No other organisation in the Midlands is currently offering this kind of training facility and we are expecting demand to be huge, especially with toolmaking considered a dying manufacturing art.”

Ian Fitzpatrick, chief executive of the ECMS, added: “It’s well known that the manufacturing industry has an ageing workforce and that bespoke training courses -specifically matching industry requirements – can be quite difficult to source.

“Our aim at the ECMS is to give our learners a clear line of sight and a career pathway from Levels 2, 3 and 4, through to Higher National Certificate and Diploma and then Degree Apprenticeships. By partnering with organisations such as In-Comm we can offer a complete or bespoke training package for the manufacturing sector through both practical and theoretical learning.”

In-Comm Training, which operates its own Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ academy in Aldridge and the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury, works across more than 10 sectors and with 450 different companies. It delivers over 550 apprenticeships per year and more than 100 bitesize and in-depth training courses, covering business improvement techniques, quality, lean manufacturing and applications engineering.

ECMS was formed following a consultation that identified certain skills shortages as barriers to growth in the Black Country region of the West Midlands. So far, partners have invested £12.6m in the future of manufacturing in the region by opening bespoke, dedicated training centres and working with existing training providers to equip people with manufacturing skills including casting, toolmaking, patternmaking, metalforming, forging and foundry training, as well as mechatronics, product design and development and advanced computer numerical control.

In addition to its new partnership with In-Comm Training, the ECMS runs the UK’s only National Foundry Training Centre based in Tipton and has its Hub at the £100m Springfield Campus in Wolverhampton as well as working with Dudley College.