ICME National President, Trevor Ayre FICME, was delighted to welcome the first group of Foundry apprentices to the new National Foundry Training Centre in November for their first full block of teaching. Foundry Training Services Ltd (FTSL) tutor, Mike Bacon was leading the delivery, alongside tutors Kevin Smith, John Myers and Billy Cox, with the focus being on the basic principles of foundry processes and foundry technology. The apprentices are from a range of UK foundries and foundry patternmaking companies, and since several of the learners are not local, a block basis for delivery is being used to optimise the time in the centre over the three-year programme.
During their first week on site, the learners had the opportunity to undertake their first group foundry visit as part of the programme, with a tour of Thomas Dudley Foundry, whose foundry is very close to the Tipton based training centre. This was quite an eye opener for those from the aluminium or investment foundry sector, as they were able to see the automated Disa greensand moulding line and the large furnaces, melting grades of cast iron, for the first time.
As Trevor said: ‘These young people have a huge opportunity before them – the industry needs lots of new technicians, foundry patternmakers, methods engineers and trained foundry engineers and this is the first step toward providing them. I am proud that ICME has been instrumental in helping the UK industry to have practical, structured and relevant training for the first time in decades. Several of the learners are, of course, very new to the industry so being taught by experienced and passionate people from the industry is a huge benefit for them and their companies.’
Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation agreed, ‘Getting this far is a huge achievement and has not been easy, but we have the new national apprentice standard, as well as the new foundry training centre, and now that we have some apprentices on programme, it feel like the next significant milestone has been achieved. I look forward to watching them develop and progress over the coming months as they take their first steps out into industry.
For more information about the foundry and patternmaking apprentice programme please contact:
Michala French at the National Foundry Training Centre
Tel: 0121 752 1814