Companies preview £1m training training centre at Shrewsbury College
Representatives from 44 local companies got a preview of a new £1 million engineering training centre which will provide the next generation of workers.
Shrewsbury College's engineering department will train hundreds of new apprentices, full-time and part-time students, at the new centre which was re-opened yesterday.
The centre will teach students 3D modelling, welding, electronics and robotics among other subjects.
Andrew Lee, head of engineering at Shrewsbury College, said that the college is aiming for 450 to 500 apprentices over the next five years.
He said: "Originally we were looking to invest about £600,000, we've got to pretty much about £1million.
"We're going to continue to move on and the do the best we can for the region.
"It's been a long journey but this is just a stepping stone.
"It has been a massive project, it has been a process.
"The team have been going above and beyond to get where we are, but this isn't the end, it's the start of the journey.
"It's based on the needs of the region, it's all core engineering.
"It's the ability to take someone who's never worked in engineering all the way through a degree working with employers.
"We're expecting 450 to 500 apprentices, 500 full-time learners and 250 higher education learners in the next five years.
"We will also offer bespoke courses specifically for companies, which gives us the ability to be perceptive to what they need."
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership put in £500,000 for the investment via its Growth Deal, while the college invested £250,000 and a number of companies contributed gifts.
Gill Hamer, director of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, officially reopened the centre in London Road.
She said: "We have nearly 1,000 manufacturing businesses in Shropshire, it's a key element of our employment process here.
"I'm really excited that this has come to fruition today."
About 80 representatives from 44 companies attended the reopening.
Roger Reece, chairman of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, had a preview of the new equipment.
He said: "We are very impressed .
"The industry desperately needs well-prepared mechanics, and they're providing the basic structure to allow that to happen.
"By 2020 we're forecasting a 100,000 shortfall in this country in apprentices.
"Initiatives like this are a great step along the way.
"Parents still have this belief that engineering is a unclean profession, but it a very clinical environment, you can see that here.
"It's a career that offers jobs."
The investment will support training for 180 businesses.