Following extensive employer-consultation and a robust and highly competitive bidding process, Shrewsbury College has been awarded a major local government grant, securing its place as a leading training provider of engineers.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (Marches LEP) have identified Advanced Manufacturing Engineering as a key priority sector within the region. Capital investment was made available for tender, aimed at developing the skills employers require within today’s engineering industry.
“The West Midlands has seen the UK’s highest growth in advanced manufacturing employment in the past twelve months,” explains Principal, Lyn Surgeon. “In order to ensure that the region remains at the forefront of this developing sector, it is critical that Shrewsbury College retains its leading position in engineering training.”
The award combined with investment from Shrewsbury College amounts to in excess of £600,000. The project has cemented the relationship between Shrewsbury College, Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, Staffordshire University, Caterpillar and Festo, which will be collectively known as the Shropshire Advanced Manufacturing Skills Hub.
“We were delighted to be informed that we were ranked as the number one bid in this process and to hear that we have been awarded a very substantial sum,” adds Andrew Lee, Curriculum Leader in Engineering and the driving force behind the bid. “It allows us to significantly extend our investment in state of the art equipment to suitably train the engineers of tomorrow.
“Students will be able to work in an entirely new product design and prototype suite running the latest 3D CAD software, new CNC Mills, CNC Press Brake, the latest welders capable of processes such as Flux Cored, Hydraulic, Pneumatic, Mechatronic and Electronic equipment.”
This investment puts the College in the unique position of being able to offer a range of courses from basic introductory levels through to degrees, apprenticeships and bespoke training to meet individual company needs.
Lucy Francis of Caterpillar, Shrewsbury adds: “Shrewsbury College has a strong focus on educating and training students to fully prepare them for industry. Their approach has always been flexible with an openness to new ideas. In turn, we at Caterpillar also aim to support the learners within Shrewsbury College by encouraging supervised access/visibility to specialist equipment that educational institutions are not able to supply.
“This new project allows the College to offer the next generation of students a very impressive level of in-house learning which will ensure they enter the employment market with the skills required to further both the industry and themselves.”