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Metal firms join forces to plug skills gap

Kent and south London companies have committed to taking on apprentices

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Apprentices are being sought to follow a career in industry through a partnership to capitalise on the resurgence in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Skills body Semta has joined forces with the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers to develop advanced apprenticeship programmes with foundries in the south east of England.

Companies in Kent and south London have committed to taking on apprentices to fill vacancies which are being created by the retirement of highly skilled workers.

Young people who successfully complete the programme will achieve a diploma in casting from EAL – the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications.

Semta’s apprenticeship director Bill Twigg hailed the move as a significant step forward with at least six new jobs expected to be created in the first phase, quickly followed by many more.

Twigg said: “Casting is a fundamental part of the UK’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector supplying highly engineered components parts for the automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, energy supply industries and telecommunications.

“The booming car industry in the UK, the expansion of commercial aircraft engine sales and investment in nuclear and renewables, such as wind energy, present a fantastic opportunity for companies.

“Earlier this year the first foundry graduates in 20 years were honoured after they successfully completed a new Foundation Degree in Casting developed at Bradford College.

“We are delighted to be working with ICME again this time with companies in the Kent and south London areas to develop home-grown skills which will ensure casting remains an integral part of UK industry for many years to come.”

The employers takingpart are: M J Allen, Aeromet International, Stone Foundry, EssexReplica and W H Rowe.

There are approximately 400 operating foundries in the UK with a combined turnover approaching £2.2bn pa and the industry employs at least 17,000 people producing around 550,000 tonnes of castings per year, supplying all areas of the advanced manufacturing industry.

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