He told guests at the launch at HME Technology of Saxon Park, Bromsgrove, that during his time as an MP one of his biggest passions had been supporting business, particularly local businesses.
HME Technology supplies design and technology equipment to schools throughout the UK and abroad.
Aided by a five figure grant from the Business Innovation Programme, which promotes innovation across the West Midlands by helping SMEs to grow through investment and job creation, the company has opened a new centre which supports and mentors the upskilling of design and technology teachers.
The new centre is part of a three pronged programme which also includes the production of teacher “task sheets” designed to support design and technology teachers deliver the curriculum at key stage 3 and 4, ages 11 to 14, with the unique emphasis on a range of machines in a workshop. The concept is to deliver innovative thinking.
The third initiative is with the Imagineering Foundation to complete two new kits based on a project with Jaguar Land Rover. These are designed for primary school learning at Key Stage 2 covering design and technology and science.
Welcoming Sajid Javid, HME Technology chairman Martyn Hale said that through the new skills centre, design and technology teachers have access to the latest equipment and be well versed in current health and safety practices when delivering curriculum.
“When they leave here, we want teachers to be inspired to teach the latest techniques to the next generation and give our young people the chance to be aspirational and creational towards engineering,” he said.
Welcoming the new initiatives by HME Technology, Richard Green, chief executive of DATA, the Design & Technology Association, said the company had created a unique facility.
“We are not aware of another facility like this. Most teachers’ initial training takes place over one year so facilities like this where they can continue their professional development are a real bonus.
“Design and technology is going through challenges in schools at present. There has been a 50 per cent decline in students studying D&T at GCSE, and this is extremely worrying.
“The fact that it is not a core subject under the Progress 8 programme for schools that will be introduced in September 2016 is a matter of real concern.
“And the fact that we were 1,000 D&T teachers short in the last September intake merely compounds the problem.
“There is a new design and technology GCSE planned for 2017, but the concern is that too many schools could have lost the opportunity to teach D&T by then.”
The new D&T teachers skills centre at HME Technology has been fully accredited by DATA.
Founded in 1984, HME Technology supplies products including forges, brazing hearths, furnaces, welding tables, fume extraction systems, kilns, woodworking equipment, wood dust extraction systems, metal finishing and CNC machines.
It is a champion of design and technology in education, fighting to keep the subject at the forefront of learning.
Employing 20 people, it has been awarded a five-figure sum by BIP in order to complete three innovative schemes.
Martyn Hale added: “Historically, teacher understanding and knowledge was linked to universities but the Coalition Government has sought to direct ‘specialist’ schools to offer the facility.
“As a manufacturer we consider that with the range of machines we supply, and more importantly the health and safety aspect of operating some of the larger ones, we have the ideal location and resource to deliver a recognised learning programme.
“Design & Technology is a subject that offers a future for children in employment. It is vital to the economy because it supports innovation, technological development, skills and engineering of all kinds.”
The £8.7 million BIP programme offers match-funded grants of up to £30,000 to SMEs employing up to 249 staff throughout the region – Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the West Midlands.
The grant is aimed at B2B (Bbusiness to business) companies who are involved in environment and energy technologies, rail, IT and digital, digital media, medical technologies, aerospace, business and professional services, building technologies, food and drink, advanced materials and manufacturing.
BIP is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered through Birmingham City Council, and in partnership with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
For more information, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/bip.