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Bridgwater & Taunton College hosts forum at Welding Centre of Excellence

Bridgwater & Taunton College kicked-off the first forum for it’s Welding Centre of Excellence (WCoE), demonstrating the college’s commitment to supporting the South West’s engineering sector.

Working in collaboration with Weldability Sif, South West Institute of Technology, Hinkley Point C (HPC) and Heart of the South West LEP, the WCoE aims to train the next generation of professionals and address the regional skills shortages in welding and associated skills.

The college said it was delighted to have been supported by leading industry experts in their field who gave an overview of the regional and national welding skills gap from their business perspective.

Andy Berry, Principal and CEO of the college, said “Our mission as a college is to ensure that we create exciting partnerships.  We are working closely with the HPC supply chain as it gears up for the next phase in the construction of HPC – the mechanical and electrical works.”

He continued “This critical phase brings with it unprecedented demand for a skilled, high-quality workforce within the welding arena. As we collaborate with partners within the supply chain, specialist welding organisations, regional stakeholders and local employers, it will enable local people to benefit from the unparalleled opportunities on offer, whether new to the industry or looking to upskill.”

Keynote speakers covered topics such as the impact of globalisation on the workforce, an update on the MEH (Mechanical, Electrical, Heating, Ventilation and Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) joint venture which is supporting HPC, the regional welding skills picture and the use of virtual reality to help train welders.

This was followed by an informative discussion with employers about how the WCoE at the college could support training needs and help businesses overcome the regional welding skills shortages.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “Employers across the Heart of the South West have told us that a skilled workforce is their highest priority for achieving growth.

“Welding skills, in particular, are in high demand, so we’ve teamed up with the South West Institute of Technology, Bridgwater & Taunton College, HPC and the Weldability Sif Foundation, to create the Welding Centre of Excellence.  The centre will deliver specialised courses and train people up with the right skills to pursue high-value careers.”

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