Car parts manufacturer Gestamp is investing in a new Academy which will include a wellbeing space for staff and focus on upskilling current workforce as well their future apprentices.
The engineering firm has already invested in the Tallent Academy, a 4,300 sq ft facility which sits adjacent to its huge factory in Newton Aycliffe.
Gestamp – which makes chassis and body components for the most main vehicle manufacturers – will include in this Academy research and development capabilities, robot cells, specialist welding bays, tooling facilities, a medical area, physiotherapy suites, counselling rooms and an ‘R&R’ wellbeing zone.
Gestamp says it will open up the new development to local support groups, while other local businesses will also be able to use the facility to train up their staff.
Jonathan Phillips, plant director at Gestamp in Aycliffe, said: “We aim to provide a world class training and research facility to support Gestamp UK’s operational and strategic objectives.
“By investing in the wellbeing of our people, facilities and future technologies we aim to provide a lean, agile and flexible facility to provide a safe, sustainable location to allow employees to grow and impact our overall plant efficiency in all key performance indicators.
“Our people are the architects of our success, so reinforcing this facility like this is a hugely positive step forward for the business.”
The idea behind Gestamp’s Tallent Academy was created six years ago, and has already been used for training purposes alone.
During that time, more than 470 apprentices have completed their training there in a variety of areas including technical, manufacturing, processing, welding and fabrication, press shop and quality.
Gestamp has created a training planner for the business to focus on specific areas, including HSE, cranes, logistics, quality, welding, technologies, leadership, administration and further education.
The further development of the Academy will also help Gestamp Aycliffe to promote the personal and professional development of employees, which then brings about the fulfilment of other business objectives.
Now, there are more than 70 training sessions held every month, with more than 250 learners completing 2,500 hours of training.
Paul James, head of Gestamp’s Tallent Academy, explained: “We want to create the feeling of it being a friendly and relaxed area very much detached from the heavy manufacturing environment of our main factory.
“We want to strengthen our position as the apprenticeship of choice for industry in our region and to become an even more attractive proposition for local businesses, as well as training providers, and for this reason it is essentially a development prospectus to create a full offering for our employees as well as the wider business community.”
Gestamp already works with Teesside University, Hartlepool College and South Durham UTC in the training of future employees, and aims to strengthen those ties as well as create new links with training and FE organisations. As well as supplying parts to Nissan, Gestamp also helps to train some of the firm’s apprentices.
Jonathan Phillips added: “We have to continually evolve, particularly with our research and development.
“Products are constantly changing to keep up with new technology. As we need to manufacture parts using different materials, our training has to complement that and our manufacturing processes have to adapt.
“The Tallent Academy is very much futureproofing the business, but we want other local companies to benefit from this – so we’re inviting them to come and use the facility at no cost to them.
“We believe by creating a local training ecosystem, by improving the skills of our existing staff and training future workers, we will all benefit as a region.”
Any businesses or organisations interested in getting involved in Gestamp’s Tallent Academy can contact Paul James by email: [email protected].