Telford College’s new engineering centre to fill the skills gap

Telford College has just completed the building of a new Engineering and Technology centre. This new flagship centre delivers many of the Engineering and Technology disciplines that are in short supply throughout the region.

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Ready for business – the department of foundation learning’s Oakdene Centre was officially launched today

The curriculum delivered by the centre has been decided upon through dialogue with employers who operate in the engineering sector within the area. Steve Jones, head of school for STEM at Telford College said, “In our discussions with employers many of them often cite the lack of high level engineering practical skills when it comes to recruiting suitable new staff. This centre delivers a range of skills which are vital to the continued economic development of the region.

Included in the skills delivered by the centre are:-

  • Computer Aided Design
  • Computer Aim Manufacturing
  • Milling and Turning
  • Hi-tech Automated Machining programming (CNC)
  • Welding skills
  • Hand fitting and fabrication skills

The skills provided by this centre compliment the other high-level skills covered by other parts of such as Automation, Electrical Engineering, Automotive and Construction.

The centre also includes a flagship training facility for learners to programme automated manufacturing equipment called CNC machines. This new facility has been developed in association with local companies and is a vocational target for the region, it will be known as the GKN Advanced Manufacturing Centre.

The development of this facility is timed to coincide with other significant investment which is coming to the region over the next two years. These developments will see major engineering manufacturers investing millions of pounds in the region as they relocate their manufacturing facilities here. In addition to the massive skills requirement that these investments will directly create in operating these plants, there will be a huge benefit to the manufacturing supply chain and local economy.

Paul O’Neill, assistant principal for employer engagement said:“The opportunities for local companies and skilled engineers will be significant over the coming years. I would advise young people with an interest in this field to seriously consider obtaining these skills now, ready to fill the skills gap and start long term, highly paid careers becoming available as a result of these investments.”

The significant cost of the equipment required to deliver these skills has been a barrier to many education establishments entering this field.

Telford College has had to ‘dig deep’ to fund the resources required to deliver these skills. The new centre called the Discovery Centre is being launched May 16 and will be ready for a new in-take of learners in September. Open evenings and employers events are being held throughout May.

For more information about the centre contact Leanne Broom on 01952 642329 or e-mail leanne.broom@tcat.ac.uk

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the launch of the Discovery Centre, the department of foundation learning will be opening the Oakdene Centre, their new state of the art resource.

The centre has been developed to accommodate the department’s specialist courses such as; land-based studies, outdoor pursuits, and bike ability, as well as providing a new and exciting place for students to study.

The centre will be launched today. There will be a whole host of activities on offer such as: land based studies, indoor and outdoor ‘have a go’ activities, Duke of Edinburgh Award activities, BikeAbility and SportAbility football matches on the 3G Pitch.

Visitors will also be offered tours of Oakdene House, a specialist house kitted out to enhance independent living skills and Oakdene Gardens purpose built to develop skills and expertise in land-based studies.

Steve West, assistant principal for foundation learning said: “It has been a pleasure to see students and staff in the centre over the last couple of weeks. I have had some very positive feedback from them. Staff have commented on how the students seem so relaxed over there and less stressed! ‘Twilight Tours’ of the area should provide a great opportunity to ‘show off’ our Oakdene Area to as many visitors as possible. ”

Steve hopes the Oakdene resources will adopt a more commercial enterprise in the future. There are plans to sell the range of crops that students will be producing to the general public via retail outlets and there is potential for the creation of a small scale Garden Nursery/Farm Shop.

The Oakdene Centre and its vocational pathways is a fantastic resource which can only enhance and compliment the already highly successful hospitality and catering pathway, an area which will gain a boost in September when the college’s brand new restaurant/training kitchens are launched.

For information contact Anne Feehily on 01952 642320 or email anne.feehily@tcat.ac.uk