Advanced engineering course to boost aerospace talent pool

In-Comm Training has joined forces with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to help unemployed people into advanced manufacturing jobs.

The independent training provider, which operates two technical academies in Aldridge and Telford, has created a fast-track course that will aim to create up to 65 new CNC machinists and electro-mechanical fitters for RTX’s Collins Aerospace factory in Wolverhampton.

Backed by more than £200k of Higher Level Skills funding by the WMCA, each learner will receive a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering and Technologies and an interview/opportunity to gain full-time employment at Collins Aerospace’s Wolverhampton facility.

The DWP has also agreed to continue to pay each individual’s benefits for the duration of the course.

Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training said: “We are continually working with employers to overcome barriers to sustainability and growth through the right talent attraction and development, taking that valuable insight and creating training programmes that deliver future workers, vital competences and skilled engineers.

“The aerospace industry has seen first-hand the impact of the current skills shortage, a skills shortage that has been exacerbated by Covid-19.

“With the niche skills required to be a CNC Machinist and electro-mechanical fitter, the talent isn’t readily available and, the only way to overcome this, is to create the next generation of engineers.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair said: “We’ve identified Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering as one of our priority sectors in our region’s Plan for Growth.

“This partnership between DWP, Collins Aerospace and In-Comm Training shows how WMCA skills funding can align with a high-growth sector, enabling local people to upskill in this field and boosting their employment prospects at the same time. It will also provide the sector with the workforce talent required to increase productivity and fuel growth.

“In-Comm has developed a flexible skills offer to help local residents access training – supporting their future career prospects, as well as their wider health and wellbeing in the months and years ahead.”

Collins Aerospace has used In-Comm Training for its apprenticeship scheme since 2018, with the latest training being delivered predominantly at the provider’s academy in Telford.

Learners have been inducted and completed environmental, health and safety training and have now moved onto engineering theory and honing practical skills.

To enhance engagement even further, participants will also be partly trained on the Collins Aerospace site in Wolverhampton.

The course is part of a £429k Higher Level Skills funding package In-Comm Training secured from the WMCA to help the region bridge the skills gap facing manufacturing.