Tooling Academy set to reverse toolmaking skills crisis
The UK’s first ever Precision Tooling Academy has been launched thanks to a partnership between In-Comm Training and Brandauer. Over one million pounds have been invested by the two strategic partners to create a commercial toolroom in the training provider’s facility in Aldridge, UK.
(L-R) Marcus Gardner (Hexagon), Geraldine Bolton (CBM), Stuart Berry and Rowan Crozier (both Brandauer), Gareth Jones (In-Comm Training), Adrian Howell (Inventive Engineering & Design) and Bekki Phillips (In-Comm Training). (Source: Tooling Academy)
A new toolroom established at In-Comm Training’s facilities in Aldridge, UK, will be available for the toolmakers and designers of the future who want to produce complex tooling. This is a vital move for domestic industry, with the sector being held back by a severe lack of toolmakers and the very real possibility of losing these essential skills forever as older workers choose to retire.
The Precision Tooling Academy aims to reverse this trend by offering companies access to professional toolmaking courses, upskilling opportunities for qualified engineers looking to diversify their skills and a Level 6 Tool Process Design Apprenticeship to develop the next generation of talent.
Training will be unlike anything currently on the market, with up to 35 individuals in the first twelve months able to learn on live tooling projects that will be producing hundreds of thousands of parts every week and will give Brandauer and other tooling experts the opportunity to reshore more manufacturing projects from Asia, the EU and the US. In a massive stamp of approval, a major car manufacturer has agreed to be the first company to put their engineers through the toolmaking course and has contributed to the actual development of the curriculum.
Gareth Jones, Managing Director at In-Comm Training, commented: “We have always placed employers at the heart of our approach to skills and, through our close relationship with Brandauer, identified a real demand to create and upskill engineers into world-class toolmakers. Lots of conversations turned into a rough plan to create an advanced training academy that is embedded into a live commercial toolroom.” Brandauer has jointly developed the course syllabus around its own tooling development process, whilst In-Comm Training has e contributed our years of expertise in vocationally balanced delivery to offer truly unique course content.
The Precision Tooling Academy has also attracted the support of Inventive Engineering & Design and Hexagon, who will bring product development, jig and fixture design and VISI die making expertise to the fore. Unique to the toolmaking sector, the latter is an end-to-end CAD/CAM solution that is used in the design, simulation and manufacture of progressive & stamping dies and supports all parts of the process.
The toolmaking programme features twelve different units, ranging from manufacturing process, costing and strip layout to understanding the bill of materials, using a wire EDM machine, part validation and problem solving to ensure the tools work when they are built. Apprenticeships will also be offered in the form of a Level 6 in Tool Process Design, an advanced course that has been shaped in partnership with the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM). The latter will be a crucial ambassador and the End Point Assessment Centre for the qualification, which covers CAD training, blanking/form tools, simulation, SMED and lean and APQP/PPAP quality certifications.
Gareth Jones concluded: “Our approach is all about bringing industry and training specialists together to ensure we deliver current and future skills. With this in mind, In-Comm and Brandauer are both part of the Level 3 Toolmaker and Tool & Die Maintenance Technician trailblazer group, which is rewriting the way training is delivered. This should be launched in time for the September 2023 cohorts, creating a further 30 spaces for the engineers of the future.”
Source: In-Comm Training