Upskilling the next generation


A new Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is sharing vital expertise and knowledge as part of the University’s Covid-19 recovery support package for Industry.

Young man using Mazak equipment

UWTSD secured £1 million in funding from Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to launch the Academy, which aims to develop, maintain and build upon the vital skills required by manufacturing apprentices and employers to deliver the technologies that keep the manufacturing industry in Wales globally competitive.

With its expertise in CAD (computer aided design) CAM (computer aided manufacture), CNC (computer numerical control) machining, and CMM (coordinate measuring machine) inspection, the Academy provides the knowledge and skills needed for today’s modern manufacturing environment through access to state-of-the-art machines for apprentices and employers in the region.

Universities will form a key part of the national recovery effort, helping to upskill and reskill the workforce for a post-Covid economy. During the Covid-19 crisis, the University has been using its expertise, experience and resources to support the local response, whilst maintaining its provision of online learning to continue to address skills gaps, to develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region. Working closely with Welsh Government, local authorities and industry partners to help rebuild the fabric of communities, UWTSD graduates equipped with high-level skills will be needed more than ever to help stimulate economic growth during these uncertain times and beyond.

Mazak equipment in the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills & Lifelong Learning) & Head of the University’s Wales Institute of Science and Art said: “Effective knowledge exchange, driven by the University will ensure the development of key skills that will drive productivity and support businesses during these unprecedented times and beyond. The Advanced Manufacturing Academy is an important vehicle for us to proactively show our commitment to collaboration with our partners to deliver social, cultural and economic benefits for the region.”

UWTSD is working in partnership with 3 of the leading companies in the manufacturing industry - Mazak (machine tool supplier) Renishaw (Measuring/inspection equipment) and Sandvik (material cutting tools supplier) to ensure the Academy is fully equipped to cater for the needs of a multitude of industry sectors.

Situated across multiple campuses in South West Wales, UWTSD provides a range of technical and vocational higher education programmes in Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing.

Lee Pratt, Manager of the Academy at UWTSD said: “The aim of the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Academy is to ensure that apprentices have access to the latest manufacturing technology. 

“Our primary focus is to provide machining experience to apprentices for manufacturing companies so they can hit the ground running, rather than having to go through a lengthy in-house induction process. The new training academy will ensure that apprentices can make an impact on their companies from day one.”

The Academy opened its doors in January 2020 and provides students with technical training to degree level, all within one facility.  It has already hosted apprentices from FSG Tool & Die Ltd, a Pontyclun-based toolmaking service provider, who have used Mazak’s machines to provide the company with completed components for customer use.

“We have invested in industry-standard machine tools, and we have already had a lot of companies in the area showing strong interest in sending their apprentices to us to familiarise themselves with the technology,” added Lee.

“We are keen to continue offering educational opportunities beyond students and apprentices. For example, we are looking at the possibility of providing short bespoke courses for those companies across Wales currently working with machine tools looking to upskill their existing workforce with modern manufacturing technologies and methods.”