01 October 2014:
A training facility that will boost one of the Island's most important industries will be declared open this month.
The former Department of Economic Development (DED) training centre at Hill's Meadow has been given a £1 million refit by the Department of Education and Children (DEC) to form a dedicated engineering training centre of excellence.
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, will formally open the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre on Wednesday 15 October.
Its creation has allowed the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education to double the intake on its newly reshaped Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering from this academic year to 36 – an increase welcomed by the industry, which relies on recruiting highly skilled staff to fulfil its growing order books.
The high-tech manufacturing sector contributes 4% of the Island's economy and the Isle of Man Government's Vision 2020 blueprint sets out how the Island will build on its already enviable reputation in the sector to become firmly established as a manufacturing centre of excellence.
The Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster (IOMAC) – which boasts 22 member firms employing more than 1,000 staff in the Island – has been instrumental in setting up the facility and in helping to design and deliver the course.
IOMAC is established as an integral part of the UK aerospace supply chain and member firms support every current major civil and defence aerospace project worldwide.
Chris Allen, Chairman of the Manufacturing and Technical Industries committee of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, said previous three or four-year aerospace apprenticeships, with students going to workplaces on day release, had been completely remodelled to reflect changing times and requirements.
The new aerospace foundation apprenticeship was launched a year ago and sees students spend two years full-time at the College and a third in industry.
After a successful first year, when 18 students began the course, the new facility has enabled twice the number of recruits to learn on state of the art equipment that replicates that used by leading engineering companies.
Mr Allen said:
'The opening of the new training facility at Hill's Meadow is a significant achievement and is widely celebrated among our engineering and manufacturing sector companies on the Isle of Man. It marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the technical training of our youth to prepare them for the world of work within this vibrant industrial sector of the Isle of Man.'
Minister Crookall said:
'I am pleased that, together, we in DEC and DED, have been able to respond to the industry's request that we provide appropriate training to local people to support the continued growth of this highly successful sector.'
01 October 2014: