UK Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, visited Telford Manufacturing Partnership and DENSO Manufacturing UK Ltd.

UK Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, visited Telford Manufacturing Partnership and DENSO Manufacturing UK Ltd.

Telford (UK) – Last week, the Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, visited the Telford Manufacturing Partnership (TMP), to receive a briefing on the progress being made by this Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) pilot project.

The TMP, which is located within the Telford based facility of Lead Employer, DENSO Manufacturing UK Ltd. (DENSO UK), has secured £1 million of funding through the EOS pilot scheme supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The aim of the TMP is, via employer led skills training, to create long term solutions to recruitment and skill issues within engineering and manufacturing, in the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, and increase the employability of the local workforce, regardless of employment position or status.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “DENSO’s facilities are exactly the kind of place where the modern workforce needs to be trained. Using top of the range techniques and equipment will provide a skills base fit to compete in the global race.

“The Government investment of £1 million, matched by DENSO provides a model for how industry can develop training that responds to industrial need.”

The funding that has been awarded to the TMP will enable participating companies to ensure they have the right people, with the right skills, as foundations for growth and competitiveness.  Ian Trennan, Head of HR at DENSO UK and Chairperson of the TMP, says:  “I am delighted that our collective bid for funding, as the Telford Manufacturing Partnership, was successful and I look forward to seeing the benefits filter through our businesses, the Borough and the wider economy”.

The TMP is seeking to fill 54 persistent apprentice vacancies, create 100 new apprentice vacancies, and develop a programme of up-skilling courses for existing staff and an employability programme to inspire local people to seek employment in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.  The TMP also has a focus on delivering Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities to 7-18 year olds from across the Borough, through a combination of day activities and summer camps.

Stuart Boreham, Project Manager, says:  “The TMP is seeking suitable candidates to fill the apprentice vacancies within the Partnership.  We know that apprentice opportunities also exist in companies across the Borough.  We are actively working with Telford and Wrekin Council and Telford College of Art and Technology, in particular, but I would also encourage businesses based in the Borough of Telford and Wrekin to contact me directly to discuss their apprentice needs. ”

During his visit to the TMP, Matthew Hancock MP toured the DENSO UK facility and witnessed the capability, and dexterity, of DENSO engineering robots.  Having inspected the site of the new Jaguar Land Rover production line and witnessed ‘in-sequence’ production on the new BMW Mini line, the Minister tried his hand at some functional skills tasks.  Mr Hancock said: “Having been on the factory floor, you can see the skills are needed right from management and design down to the technicians putting car parts together.”

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of DENSO UK, commented: “We are delighted that the Minister for Skills was able to make the time to visit DENSO UK. We are proud to be Lead Employer for the TMP and it was fantastic to be able to showcase to Mr Hancock the benefits the Employer Ownership of Skills scheme is bringing, whilst sharing with him the plans for future growth and investment at DENSO UK, which will rely on the skills and development of the next generation of young talent in our community and region.”

The Telford Manufacturing Partnership (TMP) is a consortium of seven – mainly manufacturing – companies within the Borough of Telford and Wrekin who made a collective bid for funding from the Employer Ownership of Skills pilot fund.  The Lead Employer in the TMP is DENSO Manufacturing UK Ltd and the other partners are: AGA Rangemaster, Denios, Epson, GKN Autostructures and Ricoh, along with Business Watch Guarding who provide guarding and security services to the Education and Corporate sectors. The TMP is supported by Telford and Wrekin Council as well as local training providers Telford College of Art and Technology and Matrix Training.  

DENSO Manufacturing UK Ltd (DENSO UK), which manufactures heat exchangers, cooling modules and Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) units for the automotive sector, in Telford, was established in 1990 and production started in 1992. Part of the DENSO Thermal Systems Group, DENSO UK’s 61000m² factory has been a zero landfill facility since 2006 – the company was awarded a prestigious Green Business Award in 2009. Following the downturn in business due to the global economic uncertainties and the impact of the Tsunami in Japan, for example, DENSO UK has secured key new business in the last 12 months including: a new BMW Mini UKL line, preparations for a new Jaguar Landrover (JLR) line for a new model and 33 new vehicle product launches, including the new Range Rover.  This fiscal year will see another 22 new product launches including BMW, JLR, Nissan and Toyota.

A capital equipment investment programme of £10 million is underway, across new assembly lines, moulding machines and heat exchange equipment.  The combination of new product launches, capital investment and the transfer to the DENSO UK site of plant and equipment from its Welshpool based business will see the creation of in the region of 140 new jobs over the next 12 months, taking the DENSO UK headcount from 710 to 850.