Employers start to back Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology


More than 100 people took advantage of two special open ‘lunchtimes’ held by the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) this week.

The £3m state-of-the-art training hub threw open the doors of its 36,000 sq ft facility on the Stanmore Industrial Estate in a bid to give local employers a taste of what is to come as construction work gathers pace.

Companies, including SNG Barratt and Mitchell Competition Engines, were walked through the type of learning opportunities that will be available, how they can get involved and a brief insight into the wide array of technology that will shortly be installed.

This includes dedicated fabrication, foundry, lathe, metrology, milling, robotics and vehicle trimming sections, as well as a specialist CNC Zone and spray booth/mixing capabilities.

There will also be an auditorium lecture theatre, bespoke learning environments, 5 vehicle ramps and a rolling road test facility.

“The concrete floor is now complete, which signals the start of the construction and fit-out,” explained Matthew Snelson, Managing Director of the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology.

“It also means we need to seriously start looking at recruitment of our first cohort of apprentices and this will involve lots of employer engagement events and special open days for parents, schools and children.”

He continued: “Our first two open lunchtimes were very well attended and there was a lot of interest in the initial apprenticeships we are offering, not to mention the chance for firms to tap into CPD opportunities and the new technology we will be installing.

“There seemed a general consensus that the MCMT will take apprenticeship and bespoke training provision to a new level, a vision we will be working hard to achieve.”

SNG Barratt, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of classic and modern Jaguar parts, was one of the first businesses to attend the open day.

The company employs 80 people in Bridgnorth and operates a dedicated manufacturing and assembly operation that produces thousands of parts that are no longer available anywhere else.

Jill Clarke, HR Manager, added her support: “I’m delighted we’ve got the opportunity to tap into a world class training centre…right on our doorstep.

“From our current intake of apprentices, we have a couple focusing on engineering who have to travel into Wolverhampton for their training, not an ideal scenario when some of them can’t drive yet.”

She continued: “The MCMT will give us the same high quality learning provision and I was very impressed with the plans they’ve got to introduce the latest technology and ensure the training/apprenticeships are designed to ensure the needs of employers are met.

“We also spoke about the possibility of using some of their facilities to help us develop new manufacturing processes, which has the potential to be a really valuable resource for SMEs like ourselves. It’s a real positive for the area and one we are keen to support.”

The Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology has received £1.9m of Government Growth Deal funding via the Marches LEP to bring the concept into reality, with £1.1m of private funding already pledged by the consortium of Classic Motor Cars, Grainger & Worrall, In-Comm Training and Salop Design & Engineering.

The MCMT will provide a high-tech environment for individuals to learn from engineering experts on the latest technology – all geared towards giving them opportunities to apply their new found skills on real life manufacturing situations.

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