Press release

National recognition for Black Country Skills Factory in specially commissioned film

Employer-led training partnership is hailed as a leader in the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector.


The Black Country Skills Factory has been hailed as leading the way in delivering skills training and support for the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector in a specially commissioned ITN Productions film ‘Working to Engineer a Better World’, promoting the importance of manufacturing and engineering in the UK.

Commissioned by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the ITN-produced film, introduced by newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, features the support offered by the Skills Factory to Black Country manufacturers.

Filming took place at Carbex Ltd, a micro business in Kingswinford that has been supported by the Skills Factory to take on an apprentice. In Tipton, RSA Academy advocates of the ‘Manufacture your Future’ careers resource and Huf UK Ltd, who have benefited from subsidised bite-size technical courses, were also filmed. Stewart Towe, chairman of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and MD of Hadley Group was also interviewed at Hadley Industries in Smethwick.

Nigel Houlston, partner at Carbex Ltd, said:

We have a duty to encourage and train young people for the future of the manufacturing sector. Hopefully this film will emphasise the work the Skills Factory is delivering to support small businesses and give a real picture of the modern manufacturing workplace, and in doing so help to dispel myths regarding the sector.

Paul Linton, chairman of Black Country Skills Factory board and deputy to the managing director at Huf UK, said:

We need to develop our education systems and training to ensure our young people are at the cutting edge of technology across the manufacturing and engineering sector. Projects like the Black Country Skills Factory are leading the way in addressing the skills gap in order to ensure we continue to make products in the Black Country that are sold around the world for years to come.

The ITN film, ‘Working to Engineer a Better World’ is available to watch online. The film was launched to trade specialists at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s national awards on 19 November.

The Black Country delivers 15% of England’s high value manufacturing, double the national average, employing 66,000 people and generating £2.6billion of GVA for the UK economy. In order to increase and develop the workforce to support future growth, the Black Country Skills Factory is working with local businesses to bridge the skills gap by brokering subsidised bite-size engineering courses and subsidising young people’s wages enabling them to train on the job through apprenticeships. The Skills Factory is also changing perceptions of manufacturing and engineering through careers advice that encourages young people to understand the routes into manufacturing and the opportunities available to them.

The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by UKCES funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the HVM sector in the Black Country. It is the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.

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Follow the Black Country Skills Factory on Twitter: @BCSkillsFactory.

Published 26 November 2014