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Foundry training centre helps fire Black Country regeneration

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A flagship manufacturing skills centre will be created in the heart of the Black Country following an £8m funding package from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

The funding will help launch a new Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills hub based in Wolverhampton along with training spokes in Tipton, Dudley and West Bromwich.

The scheme involves the demolition of a derelict building at one of the proposed training spoke sites at Dudley Port in Tipton – where a new state of the art training centre focusing on foundry and patternmaking skills will be opened alongside the existing Thomas Dudley foundry.

National law firm Clarke Willmott LLP acts for Thomas Dudley.

Commercial Property team Partner Iain Harrison said: “The Black Country is seeing widespread regeneration which could bring new life to dozens of heavy industrial premises such as this one.”

The project is a joint venture with the University of Wolverhampton, which will build the new foundry training centre on Thomas Dudley’s land.

The scheme is expected to be completed ready for students in August 2017.

Iain Harrison said: “We are acting in drafting the development agreement, lease to the university and leaseback of offices in the new building to Thomas Dudley.

“Our commercial property team is seeing a steep increase in activity due to the number of similar development agreements presently proceeding and we are expecting to expand this area of work as further regeneration takes place.”

Led by the University of Wolverhampton, the hub and spokes will provide employer-led training courses designed to improve productivity and growth in the high value manufacturing sector, bringing together business partners and education providers including Dudley College, the Confederation of British Metalforming, Cast Metals Federation and the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers.

These partners are investing an additional £4.15 million, bringing the total project value to £12.19 million.

Collectively, the manufacturing hub and spokes will provide specialist training in Toolmaking, Foundry, Patternmaking, Metalforming, Forging, Advanced Machining, Management and Leadership and Project Management.