Telford College has launched a new Engineering Hub to build on its close working relationships with companies in the local manufacturing and production sector.
The Hub has been created to provide an opportunity for engineering businesses to feed directly into the college’s curriculum planning, and share best practice.
Among the big-name Shropshire employers already signed up to the project are GKN, Muller, Schneider Electric, Avara Foods, Protolabs, UL (Wintech), and Keysight Technologies.
The college is keen to recruit more businesses to the Engineering Hub over the coming weeks. The next meeting is due to be held on March 10, and more details are available from Beckie.Bosworth@telfordcollege.ac.uk.
Telford College’s virtual and augmented reality suite hosted the Engineering Hub launch, which was described by principal Graham Guest as ‘a very positive first meeting’.
He said: “The group have already identified opportunities where they can work together within the Hub to share best practice and offer support to each other with specific training opportunities.
“We believe this Hub, in conjunction with the college’s other partnerships, will actively contribute to identifying skills shortages across the region across a wide range of sector areas.
“Initiatives such as this help us to ensure that our curriculum planning is relevant and reactive, so that students have the best progression opportunities into the workplace.”
The hub launch comes at a timely moment, with the Government’s new ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper encouraging businesses to play a greater role in the delivery of higher education.
A cornerstone of the paper is a need for colleges and FE providers to work more closely with business organisations to shape a curriculum which meets the needs of the local economy.
Telford College assistant principal Sue Gomer, who was involved in the launch event, added: “We are fortunate to have developed strong and fruitful relationships with many significant local businesses over recent years.
“Employers are already having a hand in how they want their apprentices to be trained, ensuring that their needs are in step with the apprenticeship framework.
“Our Engineering Hub will build on this, offering a platform for discussion, and a chance for the college to shape its apprenticeships for the differing recruitment model of local businesses.”
During the launch event, Telford College employer engagement manager Beckie Bosworth discussed the concept of ‘apprenticeship ambassadors’, work academies and schools liaison strategies, which are all designed to engage the best young people.
“Hub members will be able to share recruitment models, training resources and facilities and even candidate referrals in the right situation,” she said.