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£7.6m funding approved for Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills

A flagship Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills will open for business in the UK in August 2017. The centre will satisfy a gap in the market by functioning as an employer-led training facility for the Black Country - an area of the West Midlands in

The development, designed to improve productivity and growth in the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector, will take place thanks to funding through the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal which is transforming the region.
The centre’s development will be led by the University of Wolverhampton, working in conjunction with: the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers, Cast Metals Federation, Dudley College and Confederation of British Metalforming. The partners are investing an additional £4.15m into the centre bringing the total project value to £11.75m.
The centre will provide specialist training in toolmaking, foundry skills, patternmaking, metalforming/forging, advanced CNC, manufacturing management, leadership and project management. These skills underpin HVM performance, productivity and growth and were identified as current barriers to growth by the Black Country Skills Factory following extensive consultation with businesses across the region. The training will be delivered through both apprenticeships and short courses. During the Industrial Revolution the Black Country became one of the most industrialised areas in the UK with many foundries located there.
The foundry and patternmaking site of the new Elite Centre will be based adjacent to an existing foundry in Dudley Port with access to their facilities. It will involve the demolition of a derelict building being replaced with a purpose built training block of around 950m2. 
The centre will be established as a non-profit making organisation governed by partners and with an industry-led board of directors.
Speaking about the exciting initiative, Pam Murrell, chief executive of the Cast Metals Federation said: “The foundry and patternmaking industries are important to the Black Country, yet there are currently no training facilities anywhere in the wider region to provide the necessary skills and training for the significant number of new employees required by this important sector of the advanced manufacturing supply chain. We are delighted to be working with the partners to deliver the skills the industry needs.”