Automotive supplier launches training centre

An automotive supplier has joined forces with In-Comm Training to boost its learning and development offer and support employee retention.

Gestamp, which manufactures metal components for use in car body structures, has invested in a training centre at its plant in Four Ashes in Wolverhampton.

The six classrooms are being used to deliver lean manufacturing apprenticeships for a minimum of 60 existing staff members every year, as well as a host of other development activities designed to increase the skills base of its 650-strong workforce.

The Gestamp Training Centre (GTC) took 12 months to develop and houses two In-Comm Training experts, as well as Gestamp training specialists to oversee the Level 2 course that combines theory with significant practical training on the shopfloor.

Recruited from all production areas within the business, staff undertake a 10-week programme of training before completing an improvement project on the shopfloor and an endpoint assessment.

This project has been supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority, allowing Gestamp access to unspent levy funding by other organisations to use the apprenticeship model to develop existing staff and new recruits.

The longer-term vision for the facility is that it will grow its offering to employees in more technical courses and qualifications.

“We’ve transitioned and recruited up to 650 staff to our new Four Ashes manufacturing facility and, now this is complete, the next step was to get the Training Centre up and running,” said Philip Carr, Learning and Development Manager at Gestamp.

“In-Comm Training has been supporting us with apprenticeships and upskilling courses for more than a decade, so are the perfect partner to team up with to make this a reality. In the first few weeks of the centre being open we’ve delivered over 1000 hours of training.”

He added: “Together, we’ve developed the dedicated learning space to support delivery of a Level 2 Lean Manufacturing Operative apprenticeship. 60 of our employees are on the first cohort and we want to do the same number every year for the next four – meaning we’ll support nearly 250 people through this qualification alone. This is in addition to the 40 employees that are already enrolled on other Level 2 to 6 apprenticeships.

“In addition to boosting the skills within the business, we also want to give employees an incentive to stay with us. The current labour market is so competitive and ‘retention’ is just as big as recruitment for us.”

Gestamp invested more than £50m in the purpose built facility in Four Ashes, a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant which produces hot and cold stampings to all of the major automotive brands.

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