MP Welcomes Skills Initiative

Engineering Companies Join Forces to Elevate Industry Skills

Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, welcomed two pioneer engineering companies to his constituency office this week with skills improvement at the top of the agenda.

‘The Skills Academy’, a Port Talbot based, centre of excellence training facility for the development of welding and fabrication skills and part of the JES Group Ltd, has linked with Pencoed based Zulu Joint Integrity & Training Ltd, to announce a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at enhancing skills and ensuring industry best practice.

The initiative stems from a shared commitment to the provision of top tier learning, with the main objective being  the creation of an upskilled, ready workforce for the demands of the Celtic Freeport.

The strategic partnership will work together to develop a comprehensive set of courses focused on excellence in welding, pipe fitting and joint integrity.

By combining their training expertise, the aim is to ensure that trainees are prepared and ready to meet the recognised and growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the mechanical engineering sector.

In welcoming representatives from both companies to his constituency offices, Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon said, ‘The Celtic Freeport, the drive towards Carbon Reduction, the ramifications of Net Zero and the Circular Economy all represent great business opportunities but few will be realised without a highly skilled workforce to take advantage. We must send a message to all inward investors, that we have a highly skilled workforce that is ready, willing and able to satisfy their needs.

Collaboration of the sort that I am witnessing today, from two proactive and committed companies paves the way forward but it only beats a pathway for other companies to follow. I’m delighted that this initiative is being spearheaded by two of my constituents but they need others to join. The opening notes of the song might be sung here in Port Talbot but it needs to reverberate across south Wales’.

Responding to Kinnock’s comments, JES Group Director Justin Johnson said, ‘Stephen Kinnock is a positive and proactive MP who understands what’s needed for business. Net Zero is here already, we are seeing its consequences everyday especially in Port Talbot. As business transitions, we must transition with it BUT Net Zero is unachievable without the ‘black trades’ of welding, fabrication and pipe fitting. People talk about ‘Green Skills’ but Net Zero cannot be delivered without a mechanical engineering workforce highly skilled in the ‘black trades. On and Offshore wind turbines, floating foundations, hydrogen electrolysers, storage facilities, carbon capture, hopefully all form part of Port Talbot’s future but none will be realised without a serious improvement in workforce skills. This is why collaboration of the sort agreed with Zulu Joint Integrity & Training is so important’.

Zulu Director Christopher Mellows added, ‘I can only further stress how important workforce skills are if we want to take full advantage of Net Zero business transition and the opportunities offered to engineering companies by the Celtic Freeport. This collaboration between two centres of training excellence, will help improve skills and contribute to the overall safety, growth and innovation of mechanical engineering. Both Zulu and JES are unique in south Wales for the provision of training excellence in their respective fields and both are committed to skills development in mechanical engineering. It must not come to pass, that we squandered the opportunity to take advantage of what will become the re-industrialisation of south Wales, because the local workforce did not possess the practitioner skills needed to satisfy industry demand. On behalf of both JES and ourselves at Zulu, I urge other engineering companies to join us in our endeavours and fly a flag for south Wales that signals the capability and capacity of our industry’s workforce’.

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