26 Sep The Past and the Future Feature in CMF Scotland Meeting
The Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life near Coatbridge was the venue for the recent meeting of member foundries and guests hosted by the Cast Metals Federation, CMF, during the summer.
The museum, which boasts Scotland’s only operational heritage tramway, as well as a recreated mine with guided tours, miners’ cottages and an exhibition hall with working machinery, is based around the site of a 19th century ironworks.
Although we did not have time for a proper look round, the museum provided a very appropriate backdrop for the meeting, which included the normal discussion and exchange of ideas around key industry topics such as H&S, supply of raw materials, energy pricing and the shortage of skilled employees. There was a lively discussion around some of the key challenges for industry and how best the Federation can support the industry and all those present appreciated the opportunity to catch up with colleagues in the industry and share experiences.
The Foundry in a Box kit, used to showcase Casting as a Route to Manufacture by foundries working with schools, FE colleges and careers fairs, also featured in the meeting as a key way to help raise awareness of manufacturing. One of the attendees asked to borrow a kit with all the supporting information for one of their forthcoming Open Days which is aimed at encouraging the take-up on engineering apprenticeships at their company. Progress Rail explained how they are regularly using the kit which they have had at their South Queensferry facility for events and providing apprentices with an quick hands on overview of the casting process.
We were also pleased to be joined by Laura Pantling, the Learning and Development Lead for ICME, who, alongside ICME National President Robert Bell EngTech FICME (Corporate HSEQ Manager for Harland & Wolff Methil & Arnish Point Facilities Ltd) led a discussion around the training needs for the industry and what ICME can offer in terms of technical and management/leadership training courses to support the development of early career professionals. Laura’s employment is being funded by the Foundry Training Trust as part of a wider Future Skills project for the UK foundry and castings industry and she was able to outline the range of programmes in place as well as asking for suggestions of the needs and wants of the industry. In particular a short course for new recruit was something that will now be explored by the ICME team.
As Pam Murrell CMF CEO said, “Skills, and the need to both attract and retain staff, was a key concern of the meeting and is a consistent theme in our discussions with members, so the ability to discuss this and explore some options in person once again was extremely valuable. We are already looking forward to coming back next year as part of our regular programme of members’ meetings.”