Welsh university launches Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy

March 23, 2021

A student using equipment in the new Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (Courtesy University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

A new Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy has been launched at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), UK, to share vital expertise and knowledge as part of the university’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery support package for industry. Situated across multiple campuses in South West Wales, UWTSD provides a range of technical and vocational higher education programmes in Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing.

UWTSD is working in partnership with three manufacturing industry leaders that include Mazak, Renishaw and Sandvik to ensure the academy is fully equipped to cater for the needs of a multitude of industry sectors.

The university secured £1 million in funding from the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to launch the academy. It aims to develop, maintain and build upon the skills needed for today’s modern manufacturing environment through access to state-of-the-art machines for apprentices and employers in the region.

According to UWTSD, universities will form a key part of the national recovery effort, helping to upskill and reskill the workforce for a post-covid economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has been using its expertise, experience and resources to support the local response, whilst maintaining its provision of online learning to continue to address skills gaps, to develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills & Lifelong Learning) & Head of the University’s Wales Institute of Science and Art, stated, “Effective knowledge exchange, driven by the university will ensure the development of key skills that will drive productivity and support businesses during these unprecedented times and beyond. The Advanced Manufacturing Academy is an important vehicle for us to proactively show our commitment to collaboration with our partners to deliver social, cultural and economic benefits for the region.”

Lee Pratt, Manager of the academy at UWTSD, commented, “The aim of the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy is to ensure that apprentices have access to the latest manufacturing technology. Our primary focus is to provide machining experience to apprentices for manufacturing companies so they can hit the ground running, rather than having to go through a lengthy in-house induction process. The new training academy will ensure that apprentices can make an impact on their companies from day one.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy opened its doors in January 2020 and provides students with technical training to degree level, all within one facility. It has already hosted apprentices from FSG Tool & Die Ltd, a Wales-based toolmaking service provider, who has used Mazak’s machines to provide the company with completed components for customer use.

Pratt added, “We have invested in industry-standard machine tools, and we have already had a lot of companies in the area showing strong interest in sending their apprentices to us to familiarise themselves with the technology.”


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