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MP Visits Pioneering Training Facility Promising Jobs and Careers Reinvention


In amongst the news of redundancies coming from Tata's Port Talbot plant, hope springs eternal with the launch of an innovative and exciting training facility that promises the prospect of work and new career pathways. With help and financial assistance supplied through UK Shared Prosperity Funding and support received from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, the JES Group Ltd has launched the ‘Skills Academy' – a Centre of Excellence for the development of Fabrication & Welding skills that aligns with industry needs, the drive to Net Zero and the opportunities presented by the Celtic Freeport.

The Academy will run a full range of specialist training courses that utilise the vast range of skills accumulated in their existing workforce. Expert face-2-face tuition and mentoring from highly skilled instructors will be allied to the latest immersive and interactive digital technologies to enable Academy graduates to be ‘work ready' on completion of their training. Taken together these give the project its market niche and USP.

Workforce skills not captured, can be lost to retirement. Their use in this project in a mentoring capacity, alongside innovative digital technology and expert, safe, experiential training in a secure, non-hazardous, emissions free environment will guarantee that SW Wales has a unique Centre of Excellence for the development of Welding and Fabrication skills.

Apprentices, existing welders requiring CPD, employment seekers looking for entry pathways into the industry and local school pupils, through a broad range of courses, will be able to sample, learn or augment the skills needed to choose or improve a career in mechanical engineering.

The objective is to future proof the Fabrication and Welding learning process and deliver an enterprise class blended training centre with solutions that address the Fabrication and Welding industry's skills shortage across SW Wales.

Spokesperson for JES, Mr. Sam Owen said,

‘We have been expecting the announcement of job losses for some time. We can either take this news and lie down or do something about it; we chose the latter. While we cannot hope to offset all of the redundancies announced, we can make an impact on some, by offering alternative career pathways to an industry, perhaps the only industry, that offers commensurate salary levels to those currently being earned.

Every strategic economic document published across South Wales, highlights the shortage of qualified welders. To ensure our own resilience as a company we needed to make sure that our apprentices were industry ready and in a position to contribute positively to employment immediately on completion of their training. This is the basis of our offer; when you leave our Academy you will be work-ready and in a position to be employed. This applies to everyone, from apprentice to job seeker.

Our original aims and objectives have very quickly developed. What we have now, is a Centre of Excellence for all of South Wales. Based in Port Talbot, the Academy is wholly inclusive and offers easy access to hands-on training and mentoring from expert instructors. Allied to the latest digital technologies, the Academy can take anyone, from those wishing to sample or enter the industry for the first time, to those needing to hone their existing welding skills to the highest possible levels and provide each with the opportunity and the pathways to do so.

Stephen Kinnock is visiting us today in order for JES to say ‘Thank You' for all the help, support and encouragement extended to us on this journey. Stephen has a positive, proactive and can-do attitude, he understands what help is needed and goes about ensuring its provision. That he has taken time out from a punishing round of press and media calls today following the announcement by Tata of the redundancies at Port Talbot, shows the importance he has given to supporting this project.

We have been very fortunate on this journey to get great support and advice from NPTCBC's Officers and Elected Members in helping us successfully gain access to UK Shared Prosperity Funding. Without their help and this funding, a really worthwhile project would have struggled to get off the ground'.

In response, the Labour MP for Aberavon said,

“JES are a wonderful local business employing over 100 in skilled jobs and playing a vital role in the local economy. With over 40 years of experience they provide high quality engineering and maintenance work to businesses across the UK.

“They are a family run business and treat their workforce as part of the family. I was delighted to support their application to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and am thrilled that they have been awarded this funding for their skills academy. They deserve success in this ambitious and highly innovative venture. Not only does it protect the jobs of their own workforce but it promises to create many more.

“With the Celtic Freeport underway and the prospect of Port Talbot becoming the hub for floating offshore wind, we need skilled workforces, particularly welders, and the skills academy JES have created will help to provide those skills.

“It's an impressive academy and I was blown away by what they are providing there. In the midst of the devastating news around the steelworks, JES is an Aberavon success story and shows that Port Talbot is open for business.”

“This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.”

Business News Wales