North Worcestershire Centre of Engineering Excellence
01 Nov 2017
Company: North Worcestershire Centre of Engineering Excellence
Location: Arrow Road, Redditch, Worcestershire
Project: A dedicated advanced engineering training, education and assessment facility
Value of Funding: £350,000 from both the Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Worcestershire LEPs, £800,000 contributed by Midland Group Training Services
Value of Project: £1,500,000
In January 2017, the North Worcestershire College of Engineering Excellence opened its doors to the public, in a ceremony officiated by Small Business Minister, Margot James. The initiative was supported by a mixture of funding from both the private and public sector – the Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnerships collaborated to provide £350,000 of funding each through the Government’s Growth Deals, while Midland Group Training Services dedicated £800,000 to the project.
Studying at the MGTS – Worcester and South Birmingham Training Centre means that I’m mastering skills that I will actually need in the workplace – it’s a huge confidence boost. I’ve always been conscious of my career prospects and it’s really motivating to be working towards something that will get me on the job ladder. The technology we’re using is state of the art, so it feels like we’re genuinely part of the future of advanced engineering.
Stuart Parker, Heller Machine Tools Apprentice Fitter
The training centre is focused on delivering advanced manufacturing training, education and assessment, including the provision of practical apprenticeships. It will be run by specialist training provider and registered educational charity, Midland Group Training Services.
By offering young people the chance to learn skills associated with the operation, maintenance and management of world-class manufacturing facilities, the college will help to create the region’s ‘workforce of the future’. Through its links with local businesses, it will shape students’ careers in industry, equipping them with the ability to positively impact on the technical delivery of projects.
Specifically, the centre provides advanced engineering training, education and assessment (at levels 3 and 4, equivalent to A-Level or higher technical qualification) with an emphasis on advanced CNC and automation.
The college is set to train up to 200 young apprentices over the next four years and will deliver engineer development programmes that ready students for a career in industry.
Why does this matter?
The West Midlands is an internationally-renowned advanced engineering hub, and many businesses cite a shortage of emerging STEM specialists as an impediment to business growth.
In particular, most organisations are struggling to source talent that is ‘industry ready’, with practical experience of using complex manufacturing and engineering technology systems.
Many apprentices will go straight into employment following their training.
"This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when LEPs work jointly together with the private sector to inspire local people and deliver the skills the local economy needs. We are delighted the facility is operational and helping the region’s engineers develop their skills in this vital sector.”
Andrew Cleaves, Board Director for Improving Skills, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP
"Our new centre of excellence will help to train hundreds of apprentices and I am confident that the centre will have a hugely beneficial impact on the future of the local engineering and manufacturing industry in particular. It’s vital that young people are taught the practical skills they will need to succeed in the world of work and make a lasting and positive contribution to the businesses they serve.”
Lee Weatherly, CEO of Midland Group Training Services