25 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

EEF’s £2m training centre will help to close the skills gap

EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation, has opened a £2m centre to train manufacturers and engineers in facilities that replicate a real manufacturing environment. The centre, located at Aston in the West Midlands, will train around 250 apprentices a year in skills including milling, CNC machining, welding and fabrication.

As well as training apprentices and young people, the purpose-built centre will also provide development training for experienced personnel, ensuring that they are equipped with the right skills for the future demands of modern engineering and manufacturing. This will, in turn, help to tackle the increasing skills challenges of an ageing workforce.

“This centre is an important step in encouraging youngsters into our sector so that we can start to close the skills gap,” says EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler. “But apprenticeships aren’t just a ‘win’ for industry, they’re a ‘win’ for young people too – offering an opportunity to kick-start an exciting and rewarding career in a vibrant and dynamic sector. The more who take up this opportunity, the better it will be for manufacturing and the wider economy.”

The centre was opened by local MP, Khalid Mahmood, a former engineer. “This is a fantastic project, and a wonderful opportunity to get young people into engineering,” he said. “This ambitious initiative is exactly the type of investment in skills this city needs.”

EEF research shows that UK manufacturers are increasingly recognising the importance of apprentices in tackling the skills gap. Six in ten have taken on an engineering and manufacturing apprentice in the past 12 months, and this figure is expected to grow to more than two-thirds in the coming 12 months.