One of the UK’s leading training providers has outlined plans for investment in the launch of a new press and tooling line and a number of exciting collaborations to help industry bounce back in 2021.
In-Comm Training, which operates three world-class academies across the Black Country and Shropshire, is looking to support companies with up-skilling requirements, access to new digital skills and more than 60 trailblazer apprenticeships.
This includes, for the first time, access to a Level 6 Apprenticeship in toolmaking with the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) and the formation of strategic partnerships with the University of Wolverhampton, Institute of Technology and Gestamp.
The blueprint for the future was revealed just a few weeks after Gareth Jones (pictured above) returned to the business, after successfully leading the integration of HK Technologies into the Engineering Technology Group.
He will join his sister Bekki Phillips at the helm following the untimely death of their father Geoff four months ago and will be responsible for operations, sales and marketing, growth strategies and product development, as well as the continued expansion of the training and manufacturing group.
“Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainty are two major challenges for UK businesses and we have to face up to the reality there could be record unemployment next year and a significant skills drain if we’re not careful,” explained Gareth, who will take over the managing director role at In-Comm Training.
“We have a massive job to play in the recovery. Firstly, supporting our clients to safeguard and diversify their talent pool and, secondly, offering them unlimited access to our experts, facilities, technology, technical partners, upskilling programmes and expert consultancy.
“This will allow them to embrace innovation, product/process development and productivity through automation so they can be more competitive.”
He added: “Our clients are telling us that they now want to invest, but they need the Government to give them some much-needed certainty and create a climate that will encourage spending on the latest technology.
“It was a difficult decision to leave HK Technologies and ETG, but following the death of our father, it felt the right time to come together and put us in the best position to meet the challenges and explore the opportunities next year will offer.
“ETG has treated me brilliantly and will remain extremely important technical partners for our business. We are continuing to work with Martin Doyle and his team on grant applications skills auditing and working towards our joint vision of developing technical academies across the UK.”
In-Comm Training played a key role in the fight against Covid-19, pivoting overnight to provide virtual learning for 750 apprentices and thousands of employees that were up-skilling while being furloughed.
It also launched the Skills Pledge, a new initiative to raise the importance of vocational learning and protect apprentices who were at risk of redundancy.
This has been a huge success with 75 companies, including Brandauer, Glassworks Hounsell, Gotronic and Kiyokuni, signed-up and committed to recruiting/maintaining their apprentices, investing in new skills and donating time to raise the profile of training with young people and other employers.
Bekki Phillips, who becomes chief operating officer as part of the new management team, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Gareth back to the company, as we enter another exciting period for the business.
“There are a number of long-term investment plans and collaborations due to start in 2021 and we have also just got confirmation of our Kickstart contract that will see over 40 employers offer work placements to young people.
“Strengthening the management team following Dad’s passing was vital – he left a fantastic legacy and we want to make him proud by building on that and taking it forward.”
Gareth said: “For any economy to be strong, you have to be innovative and you have to design and manufacture products – this is engrained in the UK through our industrial heritage and capabilities.
“Our manufacturing/engineering organisations may not look the same after this unprecedented period with a heavy shift to more technical roles, but, through innovation, skills, people and a sheer willingness to succeed, we’ll lead the world recovery in our fantastic sector.”