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Skills Academy to Support Growth of UK Composites

31 October 2010

The National Skills Academy Process Industries is planning to create a dedicated new Composites Business Unit, centred at the National Composites Centre near Bristol, to enhance the skills provision for advanced composites.

The UK Composites Strategy published in November 2009 described the potential for aerospace, wind energy, automotive, other key industries and their supply chains to achieve substantial growth by employing leading technology in the use of advanced composites for product design, manufacture and maintenance over the next 5 years.

However, employer feedback and recent studies point to a growing shortfall of skilled and advanced technicians. Industry needs development routes to enable the up-skilling of current composites staff and re-skilling of metal-based personnel. At the same time there are a limited number of capable, quality assured training providers, many not well located to meet the emerging need.

In March 2010 the National Skills Academy Process Industries was invited by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) - as part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - to develop a business plan to enhance the skills provision for the emerging technologies of Advanced Composites.

The proposed team will work proactively with member employers to determine skills needs, establish training standards, develop provider networks and establish responsive training programmes.

It is expected that the SFAs contribution towards composites will be 1.1 million over three years. However, the SFA needs evidence of both general employer support plus a willingness for the composites sector to contribute some 200-250k annually over a three year period to co-fund the operation of the academy starting in 2011.

The National Skills Academy Process Industries is currently bringing together industry partners to support the plans, and more detail can be found in the link below.





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