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Contractor appointment puts spoke in the works for manufacturing centre


The University of Wolverhampton has appointed Midlands based contractor, Shaylor Group, to build its Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) Spoke at the former Thomas Dudley factory site in Tipton, Dudley.

The landmark occasion was marked by a ground breaking ceremony at the site where the building works are taking place. The ‘foundry and patternmaking spoke’ will provide a purpose built training facility adjacent to the existing Thomas Dudley foundry in Dudley Port where students will have access to industrial facilities.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) approved £8.04 million funding for the ECMS project with training being delivered in Tipton, Dudley, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.  Work has already started at the ECMS Hub site on the former Springfield brewery in Wolverhampton.

Led by the University of Wolverhampton, the ECMS Hub and Spokes will provide employer-led training designed to improve productivity and growth in the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector, bringing together business partners and education providers  Dudley CollegeBlack Country LEP, Thomas DudleyCast Metals FederationConfederation of British Metalforming and the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers. The partners are investing an additional £4.15 million, bringing the total project value to £12.19 million.

The ECMS Hub and Spokes will provide world-class training facilities, supporting the delivery of apprenticeships through to Degree Apprenticeships at the University. They will also focus on upskilling to support and help business growth, providing transferrable skills for other sectors in the Black Country, across the UK and internationally. Shaylor Group has been appointed to complete the construction works due to their outstanding reputation in the education sector and particular expertise in delivering specialist training facilities.

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Manufacturing is a highly specialised sector that has an ageing workforce and which is suffering from a significant skills gap. Following extensive consultation with businesses across the Black Country, it’s clear that the region is lacking the skills that underpin HVM performance, productivity and growth. 

“This is a key strategic project which links employers, further education and higher education in the Black Country and provides another huge step forward in the regeneration of the Black Country, helping to boost the economy and create jobs.”

Divisional Director at Shaylor group, Adrian Adams, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the University of Wolverhampton to provide the new Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills. Shaylor Group has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the University for over a decade which highlights our mutual support for local business and institutions. We are particularly proud to play our part in ensuring the future and growth of British commerce.”

Stewart Towe, Chair Black Country LEP, said: “Through the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills we are collectively working to remove barriers to business growth by supporting employers in key industry sub-sectors to invest in skills and in doing so contribute to improving the pipeline from education to HVM employment.

“Through providing specific, targeted training, the LEP will continue to support the growth of the global supply chain within the aerospace and motor vehicle sectors and in doing so continue to build a strong economic future for the Black Country.”

Martin Dudley, Joint Managing Director of Thomas Dudley Ltd, said: “At Thomas Dudley, we’re committed to help bridge the skills gap by attracting young people into engineering and developing their skill-sets. As such we’re delighted to support the Elite Manufacturing Centre and with it being built next to our Foundry, it offers a unique opportunity to provide students with a hands-on experience of what to expect in the workplace.”

The ‘toolmaking’ spoke will be principally located in West Bromwich under the guidance of the Confederation of British Metalforming. Metal joining and advanced machining training will be covered by the installation of new equipment and the use of existing equipment at the recently opened Dudley Advance at Dudley College.

Work has now started on the building project at Tipton and is due to be completed by October 2017.

Tweedale Architects, based in Wolverhampton, provided the architectural design expertise on the ECMS Hub and Spoke projects at all sites.

Anyone interested in enquiring about ECMS manufacturing training, skills, apprenticeships or Continuous Professional Development (CPD) should contact 01902 321663/0800 953222 or email

Picture caption: Front view of ECMS Tipton Spoke.  Image provided by Tweedale Architects.

Picture caption: From left to right, Julia Cartwright (Institute of Cast Metals Engineers), Ian Fitzpatrick (Chief Executive - Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills), Paul Davis (Estates Manager at University of Wolverhampton), Adrian Adams (Divisional Director - Shaylor Group PLC), Colin Parker (Black Country Consortium) and Martin Dudley (Thomas Dudley Ltd).  Wendy Bennett (Chair - Cast Metals Federation) is sitting in the cab.


For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: 28th April 2017

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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