Walsall College has officially opened its new Digital Engineering Skills Centre – cementing its status as the digital skills lead for West Midlands Colleges.
With funding through the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal, the £2m centre is the college’s first standalone facility to address skills deficiencies and recruitment challenges faced by the engineering and construction sectors.
Local employers and industry representatives attended an event at the centre on Portland Street where they toured the facilities. These include CNC programming and production machines, along with computer-aided design and 3D printing equipment for prototyping and production technologies.
Jatinder Sharma OBE, Walsall College’s Principal and Chief Executive, said: “The centre acts as a digital passport for the development and growth of local businesses – meeting productivity and efficiency needs.
“Businesses continue to report skills gaps that make it hard for them to fill apprenticeship and job vacancies, creating key barriers to production and profit. Our training provision supports these employers by delivering the specific traditional and specialist skills they need.”
The centre officially opened after Jatinder Sharma and Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP) received a commemorative 3D plaque produced by students, with the final stage of printing from a CNC machine witnessed by guests at the ceremony.
Stewart Towe CBE DL, said: “We welcome the launch of the new centre.
“By providing funding support, we are continuing the ambitions set out in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan for the Black Country to become proficient in digital engineering and advanced manufacturing. This is with a view to raising skills levels and productivity, and delivering our long term economic growth.”