Composites Skills Alliance is one-stop-shop for skills

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Philip Jones, chief executive of National Skills Academy for Process Industries, has highlighted the role of the Composites Skills Alliance as a one-stop-shop for skills and training in the UK composites sector.

Speaking at an event at the National Composites Centre in Bristol, Jones explained to an audience of 80 employers and training providers how the Composites Skills Alliance, a partnership between the National Skills Academy for Process Industries and Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, was working to address the industry’s training and skills needs.

More than 40,000 people work in the UK composites sector, making it an important emerging technology but one that is hampered by a lack of quality assured training providers.

According to industry research, demand for composites skilled people at all levels is forecast to at least double by 2015. Meeting this demand will require a four-fold increase in composites skills provider capacity in the short term.

Since its creation a year ago, the Composites Skills Alliance has established a group of five founder training providers comprising technical colleges from across the UK: Burnley College, Belfast Metropolitan College, City of Southampton College, Oxford and Cherwell College and Yeovil College. The Alliance has plans to recruit a further ten providers from among colleges, private and higher education.

In addition to identifying providers capable of delivering training, the Composites Skills Alliance has developed strong links with composites businesses in the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, renewable energy and advanced engineering sectors to ensure that the courses offered are relevant to employers.

Commenting on the progress made over the last twelve months, Philip Jones, National Skills Academy for Process Industries chief executive, said: “When we created the Composites Skills Alliance just over a year ago our vision was that it would become as a one stop shop for employers looking for composites-specific training and skills in what we recognise is a very complicated skills landscape.

“I’m delighted to say that we have made significant in-roads towards this goal but this is by no means the end of the road. The next twelve months will be crucial as we look to build on the foundations we have laid by ensuring that all course modules are available by October and by increasing our engagement with employers and providers.”