08 Nov Manufacturing apprentices build skills for the future

The first apprentices have joined the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) – with focus on building skills for the future.  The ECMS project is a new employer-led training facility for the Black Country, designed to enhance productivity in the region’s high value manufacturing sector and is a collaboration between the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Dudley College, the Cast Metals Federation, the 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.

The first 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 £12M Advance II Centre whilst the new facilities are built..

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, 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.”

Angela Mason
Angela Mason