College Opens New £160k Engineering and Welding Workshop


Cutting the ribbon L-R: Walsall College Principal and Chief Executive Jatinder Sharma OBE, Walsall College Governor, Alastair Scales and Head of Engineering at Walsall College, Neil Sambrook

Walsall College has opened a new £160,000 Engineering and Welding Workshop, following a capital investment by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to address regional skills shortages in the sector and create additional facilities following a rapid increase in the number of students enrolling on to full-time courses.

A number of stakeholders and business partners attended the unveiling of the Portland Street Campus located off Stafford Street, by its Wisemore Campus on Tuesday 8th November as College Principal and Chief Executive Jatinder Sharma OBE officially opened the facility.

The facility is equipped with the very latest engineering technology and welding equipment designed to provide students with the employability skills to support the engineering jobs of the future.

The workshop boasts two state of the art virtual reality welding simulators and five welding bays with the latest downdraft extraction tables and portable extraction, covering MIG, TIG and Arc welding.

The welding simulators, which are some of the most advanced training systems currently available, allow students to work with real 3D objects combined with virtual computer-generated images to give the most realistic welding experience possible. They can repeatedly practice techniques in a safe environment.

The college supports over 120 full-time engineering students and over 200 apprentices. The new workshop is an expansion on the £300,000 Engineering and Manufacturing facility, the college opened in September 2014 at its Green Lane Campus.

Neil Sambrook, Head of Curriculum for Engineering at Walsall College, said: “The fundamental skills required by engineers are equally as important as the higher level skills to help secure the future of the industry. It is critical for students to learn the process and physical consequences behind decisions. Techniques including measuring, marking, cutting and turning; skills no longer taught in through and hands-on experience with tools and machinery are vital in helping to create rounded and competent engineers of the future.

“Our collaboration with the LEP has allowed us to expand our Engineering offer through modern welding equipment and also enabled us to focus on some of the higher level skills, such as hydraulics and pneumatics, key drivers that support industry growth.

“Engineering is a major growth sector in the region and we are committed to working in partnership with employers and local authorities to ensure our curriculum meets the changing needs of the industry.

“This fantastic new facility will support Engineering students on Level 1, 2 and 3 programmes, as well as the Level 4 HNC diploma, to develop the practical expertise that businesses need. Creating a highly skilled workforce for local and regional employers with help to stimulate growth in the sector and wider economy.”

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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