First welding centre opens in Stevenage

A dedicated welding training centre – the first of its kind in the UK, has opened in Comet country.

The new facility at the Stevenage Skills Centre is the result of collaboration between North Herts College, engineering company Weldability-Sif and The Welding Institute, Cambridge. Students who enroll at the site will be able to earn a newly recognised industry standard qualification.

Adrian Hawkins, managing director of Weldability-Sif said: “We have set up the Weldability-Sif Foundation Charity to encourage the development of new welder training facilities across the UK, and the North Hertfordshire College is the first to inaugurate a specialist foundation level training facility.

“My vision is of investment in education through government and charitable funding for both skills centres and the new studio schools. Vocational skills are back on the educational agenda and this certainly helps our cause. Welding is vital to this country. The chair you sit on, the car you drive, most industrial buildings, bridges, bikes, nuclear power stations, you name it and welding plays an active part in keeping it all together.

“With the coming energy boom expected to make the UK self-sufficient in energy from 2020, this project alone will require some 20,000 trained welders when this is combined with a recent decline in the availability of existing welders, we will need at least another 38,000 trained welders to satisfy UK demand.”

Skills minister, John Hayes, who officially opened the centre said it will help meet that demand and bridge a skills gap in the industry.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland who was also at the opening, said it was an “amazing initiative” that will help create employment for young people in the area.

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