The University of Wolverhampton’s Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) has formed an exciting partnership with In-Comm Training and the Confederation of British Metalforming to help boost UK manufacturing skills.

The ECMS’ new National Power Press and Tooling Centre will be located at the training provider’s Aldridge academy and will focus on delivering toolmaking apprenticeships and technical courses for more than 2000 people.

Over £1.4m has been invested in creating a modern toolroom that features a host of new equipment, a full transfer press line incorporating two 110 tonne C frame presses, robot transfer and the latest servo feed technology and decoiling equipment – all supplied by Bruderer UK, in conjunction with another Made in the Midlands member Worcester Presses.

A £500,000 state-of-the-art high-speed precision Bruderer BSTA-280 press will also be arriving to complete the line-up, with tooling supplied by Birmingham-based MiM ambassador Brandauer providing a precision progression tool and training in its industry-leading Standards of Performance (SOPS), which cover every element of tool setting, health and safety, 5S and problem solving.

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.”

He continued: “We already have a very strong relationship with the University of Wolverhampton, having worked with them on a number of previous projects. Together, we are looking forward to welcoming our first intake of apprentices and supporting more manufacturers in the Midlands and the rest of the UK.”

Ian Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive of the ECMS, added his support: “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.”

Partners of ECMS have invested £12.6 million 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 £100 million Springfield Campus in Wolverhampton as well as working with Dudley College.

Apprentices learn on the job at one of the ECMS’s training Hub or Spokes equipped with new training rooms, metallurgy and metrology labs with access to partner training centres and state-of-the-art engineering facilities.