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Skills Factory subsidy kick starts career for female apprentice

Lauren Speed aged 18 years from Wolverhampton is the first Apprentice to receive subsidised support from the Black Country Skills Factory commencing her Engineering Apprenticeship at 3D Tooling Technologies Ltd in August 2013.

The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by government funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.

3D Tooling Technologies Ltd is the first company to benefit from the Skills Factory apprentice wage subsidy that is enabling Lauren to learn the basic hands-on engineering skills required by the company.  Lauren is working towards a Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations qualification with the offsite training being undertaken at LEMA Academy.

Lauren Speed, Engineering Apprentice said:  "I chose an engineering apprenticeship as I thought it would be something different and give me better opportunities for the future. Hopefully I will stay with 3D after my apprenticeship and continue to progress and learn more skills.”

Colin Parker, Project Director, The Black Country Skills Factory said: "It is really encouraging that our first apprentice subsidy is for Lauren at 3D Tooling Technologies - we are particularly happy that the subsidy is helping to promote engineering as a career for women.

"The Skills Factory is engaging with employers in the Black Country to identify and offer support to address some of the skills shortages in the sector by up-skilling and promoting apprenticeships. We’re pleased to have been able to support 3D Tooling Technologies for this very reason.”

Paul Reeves, Director, 3D Tooling Technologies Ltd said: "We chose the apprentice route as we have been trying to get skilled people but there is such a big skills gap in the industry. This was a dwindling trade – apprentices are important for the longevity of the business – it’s satisfying to be able pass on your skills and knowledge to young people who want to learn. LEMA sorted out all the training so we don’t have to worry about anything and the additional Skills Factory subsidy is a bonus and goes some way to cover the costs while Lauren is still learning.”

The Black Country Skills Factory also seeks to up-skill employees through delivering a range of bite-sized courses. In the initial phases the project has built on existing research and engaged with over 50 employers to identify training needs. Skills Factory is working in conjunction with specialist training providers and colleges in the Black Country to address some of the skills gaps and shortages in the High Value Manufacturing Sector.

For further information on the Black Country Skills Factory and the subsidised courses on offer, visit: or contact the team on 08458 151515.

3D Tooling Technologies Ltd, based in Wolverhampton, designs and manufactures a wide variety of tooling and patterns for a range of customers in the automotive, foundry and other industrial sectors. The company is looking to grow its CAD and CNC machining business and Lauren’s apprenticeship is part of this growth. LEMA Academy specialises in the delivery of Engineering Apprenticeships in partnership with Dudley College.

Picture credits (L-R): Kelly King - LEMA, Colin Parker - Skills Factory, Lauren Speed - Apprentice at 3D Tooling Technologies.

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