Institute casts about for a new headquarters

ECMS Foundry Technology Centre

The Institute of Cast Metal Engineers (ICME) has moved its headquarters to the new National Foundry Training Centre in Dudley Port, Tipton.

The ICME is a membership organisation and professional body for people involved in the casting, foundry pattern-making and associated industries. Members include senior management, owners and directors, design engineers, metallurgists, moulders, patternmakers, CAD technicians, methods engineers, researchers, university professors, students and suppliers to the industry.

The National Foundry Training Centre is one of the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) spokes which has recently opened adjacent to one of the Thomas Dudley foundry sites.

The ECMS is a new employer-led training facility for the Black Country, designed to enhance productivity in the region’s high value manufacturing sector by providing specialist training and helping to close skills gaps identified by employers.

The project is a £12 million collaboration between the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Wolverhampton, Dudley College, Cast Metals Federation, Confederation of British Metalforming and the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers. The ECMS Hub will be based at the University’s £100 million Springfield Campus and will deliver skills training through short courses and apprenticeships at three spoke locations in the Midlands – Tipton, Aldridge and Dudley.

Trevor Ayre, National President of ICME, said: “It has been more than 25 years since the UK foundry patternmaking and cast metals industry had a dedicated, purpose-built training facility. It is an ideal base for ICME to be located – we now have a facility that feels like the centre of the UK foundry industry and a place where members and students can have access to specialised training facilities.

“We are really excited to be part of this project. The ECMS Hub and Spokes will provide world-class training facilities, supporting the delivery of knowledge and skills transfer via training courses and apprenticeships from level 2, right through to Degree Apprenticeships, supported by the University. The focus will be on upskilling to support and help business growth, providing transferrable skills for a range of sectors across the UK and internationally.

“Our aim at the Institute is to bring together people from all sectors and levels, to offer help and advice, technical support and professional development opportunities, helping our Members make the most of their careers in the castings industry, and now we are strategically placed to do exactly that.”

Ian Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive at the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, added: “We are delighted to welcome ICME to its new home at the National Foundry Training Centre.

“Manufacturing requires highly specialised skills but has an ageing workforce and is suffering from a significant skills gap. Following extensive consultation with businesses across the Black Country, it’s clear that the region is lacking the technical skills that underpin HVM performance, productivity and growth. The foundry industry is an important part of the advanced manufacturing supply chain and having the new training centre as well as the professional body for the sector together will really enable us to ensure we deliver what the sector needs.

“This is a key strategic project which links employers, further education and higher education in the Black Country and provides another huge step forward in the regeneration of the region, helping to boost the economy and create jobs.”

Employers or potential apprentices should contact Trevor Codner at the ECMS on 0800 953 3222 or 01902 321663 to find out more about training and/or apprenticeship opportunities.

Picture caption: Ian Fitzpatrick, ECMS Chief Executive on the left and Trevor Ayre, National President of ICME, on the right.

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