The Black Country Skills Factory is working with the University of Wolverhampton providing subsidies of up to £2,000 off course fees for High Value Manufacturing (HVM) companies in the Black Country, for employees taking up a BEng (Hons) in Manufacturing Engineering.
The new accelerated two-year BEng Manufacturing Engineering degree programme, which aims to up-skill the workforce and enable employees within the sector to gain a career-enhancing qualification, was officially launched at the University’s ‘Manufacture a Career in Engineering’ event on Friday 31 January 2014.
The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by government funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the HVM sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.
Following feedback from HVM companies in the Black Country, the Skills Factory worked in partnership with the University to develop the course delivery structure and funding to make it more accessible for companies to accelerate the up-skilling of their workforce and encourage additional sign up of candidates.
University attendance was changed to every Friday and twelve Saturdays per year, ensuring that a significant proportion of students’ time is spent in the workplace and project assignments are real projects that are set by the employer.
The Black Country Skills Factory also provided a subsidy off course fees for the January intake, and delivered a 50% reduction in fees for both years for companies with less than 250 employees, and £1,000 reduction each year for larger companies with 250+ employees.
Based on feedback, entry requirements were also tailored by the University of Wolverhampton to an assessment for those candidates aged 24+ who had no formal engineering qualifications.
The Skills Factory has played an integral role in marketing the BEng degree to companies, linking employers to a Business Development Manager at the University’s Business Solutions Centre to discuss individual corporate needs.
Colin Parker, Project Director, The Black Country Skills Factory said: "The BEng Manufacturing Engineering degree is a great opportunity in which companies can develop the talent they have in-house, and will help to facilitate employees becoming the next leaders and managers of their organisation.
"We’re pleased to have worked in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton to help reduce the burden on employers, both in terms of time ‘off the job’ and cost”.
Nine employees from six Black Country HVM companies attended the course induction programme at the engineering careers event last week and will start their training from early February 2014. Four of the companies enrolled on the course are medium and large sized organisations, and two are SME’s.
For further information on the Black Country Skills Factory, visit: www.blackcountryskillsfactory.co.uk or contact Colin Parker on 07944 268709 / Jacki Lakin on 07944 268712.
Follow the Skills Factory on Twitter: @BCSkillsFactory
Picture credit: The first cohort for the BEng Manufacturing Engineering degree with Skills Factory Director, Colin Parker, and Course Representatives from the University.