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Partnership agreed for Cambridgeshire apprentice training centre in Chatteris

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Leading engineering firm and one of the country’s top apprenticeship providers have today confirmed their partnership to manage a new training centre for apprentices in Cambridgeshire.

Stainless Metalcraft (Metalcraft) and West Suffolk College (WSC) have partnered to manage and operate the North Cambridgeshire Training Centre (NCTC) – a new facility being developed on land owned by Metalcraft in Chatteris.

The partnership sees Metalcraft - which was founded in 1864 and has trained its own apprentices for over 100 years – join forces with West Suffolk College, one of the country’s leading further education and apprenticeship providers.

WSC is currently supporting nearly 13,000 students - including almost 2,000 apprentices and over 1,000 employers - from its sites across East Anglia.

Under the terms of the contract, which is for an initial period of five years, WSC will be responsible for the management of the centre and providing technical, virtual and hands-on training for between 80 and 130 students a year, as well as building relationships with local employers. Courses will range from introductory to Higher Level Apprenticeships.

The range of courses on offer will be informed by demand from local businesses, with priority areas including advanced manufacturing and engineering, and a focus on future-skills training, including robotics, automation and composite materials manufacturing.

Martin Lawrence, commercial director, at Metalcraft said: “Training our own people has been a key part of the Metalcraft success story over recent years, with almost 50% of our workforce - including members of the senior management team - beginning their careers as apprentices.

“The NCTC is designed to fill a gap in the vocational training offer in the North Cambridgeshire Fens, creating opportunities to up-skill local people and delivering a workforce ready to step into rewarding careers in growth industries over the coming years.

“We received a number of high-quality responses to our tender but WSC’s application stood out due to their extensive experience and expertise delivering a range of post-16 training programmes. They demonstrated a clear understanding of the local area and, with their award-winning track record, we’re looking forward to working closely with the team to bring our vision for the NCTC to life.”

Laraine Moody, vice principal at WSC, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this contract, which promises to be a game changer for the local economy. At West Suffolk College, our mission is to use education as a catalyst for positive social change and prosperity for the communities we serve. This ethos fits well with Metalcraft’s vision for the NCTC. We’re excited by the potential offered by this new apprenticeship centre and looking forward to developing relationships with local employers to deliver the skills required.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board provided £3.16m to fund the training school through the Local Growth Fund. Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “The appointment of WSC as operator is a real landmark for the project. With its focus on the needs of local people and our local economy, the vocational training school will provide a fantastic, state-of-the-art facility for local people to secure sustainable, rewarding employment.”

Nitin Patel, of the Business Board, added: “It is fantastic to see this much needed project continue to move forward at pace. Raising our skills levels in this sector and ensuring local employers have a robust pipeline of talent will be another step towards a sustainable and enduring recovery from Covid-19.”

Alongside Metalcraft, local organisations involved include The Active Learning Trust, Cambs Skills and ARU Peterborough – the new university for the city.

Notes to editor

For media enquiries, please contact: elizabeth@encore-communications.co.uk / +44 (0)7740 872852 or Rebecca Messenger at West Suffolk College on Rebecca.messenger@Wsc.ac.uk

Stainless Metalcraft Ltd. is part of Avingtrans PLC’s Process Solutions and Rotating Equipment division and is a key provider of safety-critical equipment for the energy, medical, science and research communities, worldwide. With sites in Chatteris (Cambridgeshire), Bolton (Greater Manchester) and China, it specialises in precision pressure and vacuum vessels and associated fabrications, sub-assemblies and systems. More than 50% of its employees trained in house, including members of the senior management team. In 2019, the business received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility and in 2020, the Princess Royal Training Award. It has offered an apprenticeship programme for over 100 years and regularly features in the Government’s Top 100 Apprenticeship employers.


West Suffolk College

West Suffolk College has evolved over 70 years from a small provider of evening classes for the people of Bury St Edmunds to an established, major player providing high quality Further and Higher education to the East Anglia region. With three campuses in Bury St Edmunds (West Suffolk College - Out Risbygate, The Milburn Campus - Anglian Lane, and the STEM Innovation Campus - Western Way) and learning centres in Haverhill, Thetford, Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, it offers a range of full- and part-time post 16 and post 19 qualifications, including apprenticeships, employer training, adult education, higher education, access to higher education and workplace learning.

West Suffolk College is part of the Eastern Colleges Group - a collective of post-16 education providers (West Suffolk College, Abbeygate Sixth Form and One Sixth Form), sharing the same strategic aims and is committed to providing outstanding vocational and academic excellence to over 15,000 students across the region. For more information visit www.wsc.ac.uk, www.abbeygatesfc.ac.uk and www.suffolkone.ac.uk

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