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First Minister of Wales opens Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre

08 October 2010

Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, has opened a training centre in Broughton that will help thousands of Airbus in the UK apprentices and employees develop and improve their composite manufacturing skills.

The Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre, located in the Hawarden Industrial Park in Broughton, is partially funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to improve and teach composite skills.

Glyndŵr University will provide higher education courses focusing on research, while Deeside College will provide further education courses.

“Today we are bringing together government, academia and industry under one roof for a single purpose: to keep Wales at the forefront of innovation and manufacturing,” said Carwyn Jones.

“I congratulate Glyndŵr University and Deeside College on their partnership approach in responding to Airbus’s requirements, the provision of training programmes and the development of new qualifications at both further and higher education levels.”

The Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre is made possible by the Welsh Assembly Government, which committed £28.66 million to support the development of composite wing technology and advanced manufacturing skills in Broughton.

Airbus’ North Factory building and this new training centre are two results of the investment, which was announced in June 2009 by former First Minister Rhodri Morgan.
The capability to design, manufacture and assemble composite materials is vital in the aerospace industry. The use of composites in aircraft helps to optimise the weight and design of aircraft, thereby improving efficiency and performance.

The manufacturing processes and skills needed to produce composite parts and components differ from current metallic work, so training in this highly skilled sector is important to employees and apprentices in the industry.

Research led by Glyndŵr University will be targeted at developing faster manufacturing and processing techniques for composite materials which will help to meet future demand for aircraft.

The new centre’s activites are timely, as the skills learned will be applied in the manufacture of wings for the new Airbus A350 XWB. 

“Today we are beginning a new era in aircraft manufacturing. We aren’t here to celebrate just an opening of a building, we are here to celebrate a commitment to the future of Wales, and Broughton in particular, in aerospace manufacturing and design,” said Mark Barclay, Airbus’ Senior Vice-President and Head of Wing & Pylon Centre of Excellence.

Professor Michael Scott, Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: “At a time when it is becoming increasingly important for universities to share their wealth of expertise with industry, the new composite centre is a hugely significant development for north east Wales.

"Glyndŵr University is a new type of university, a university dedicated to working with industry and training a highly skilled workforce to meet its needs, and we’re delighted to further our relationship with Airbus, one of the foremost examples of the industrial strength of the region.

"Tripartite collaborations between industry, government and education are the way forward for the UK economy and we’re proud to be at the heart of one here in North Wales.”

David Jones, Principal of Deeside College, said; “We are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Airbus, a partnership which has been universally recognised as excellent and sector-leading at a Wales, UK and international level. 

"Quality, innovation, ambition and determination cement our partnership with Airbus, and this latest development, which also strengthens our links with Glyndŵr University, is also very good news for the Welsh economy.

"As a college we always aim to work flexibly with companies to ensure skills training meets the needs of their employees, and the business needs of the employer. This latest development in advanced materials builds on many years work with partners across Wales to develop new approaches to training ,and I am delighted we have this fantastic partnership centre as a focus for this work.”

Flickr - Launch of Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre

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