The upgrades, which were made possible thanks to a £260k Welsh Government grant, have enabled Coleg y Cymoedd to donate its existing equipment to a key local employer of apprentices in order to benefit hundreds of young people throughout the region, providing them with cutting edge facilities to develop their skills.
The college is donating a range of engineering equipment, including lathes, grinders, drills and a range of milling machines, to the Aspire apprenticeship programme – a scheme designed to boost the up-take of apprenticeships and provide aspirational opportunities for young people in Blaenau Gwent.
The equipment will be hosted at international automotive industry supplier Continental Teves in Ebbw Vale, centrally located in Blaenau Gwent to ensure all Aspire apprentices benefit.
Delivered by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council in collaboration with numerous partners including Coleg y Cymoedd, the Aspire initiative aims to tackle the region’s manufacturing and engineering skills gap and boost employment.
Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said:
“It is important to us that our apprentices benefit from the latest industry equipment both in the classroom and during their workplace learning to best prepare them for the working world. We are therefore delighted to be able to not only improve the quality of learning and training for our learners, but to also help local businesses improve their facilities, which will undoubtedly benefit hundreds of young people both now and in the years to come.
“We’re committed to maintaining strong, collaborative working relationships with local businesses tackle high levels of employment in Blaenau Gwent and provide career pathways for our learners, helping them to secure employment once they complete their apprenticeships.”
The Aspire apprenticeship scheme, of which Coleg y Cymoedd is the leading provider, aims to fill manufacturing vacancies and produce apprentices that are work-ready. Each apprentice has a bespoke training plan, tailored according to their employer’s needs, to ensure they are best placed for the role.
Now in its third year, the programme has successfully placed 52 apprentices in 15 business across a range of industries from motor vehicle manufacturers and mechanical engineering businesses to pharmaceutical companies.
Cllr Dai Davies, Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council Said:
“The Council and its partners continue to invest into the Aspire Apprentice Scheme. The additional investment into the equipment will enhance the skills and learning experience for the Aspire apprentices as well as a training resource available in the area for companies. The Council and its partners are taking steps in future proofing skills in Blaenau Gwent and helping to reduce the gap within manufacturing. If you are interested in participating in the scheme as an employer or learner, please contact us.”