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Senedd Member sees the future at innovative training academy

Doom and gloom is the media’s message on Tata’s plan for massive redundancies at its Port Talbot plant but one local company looks to lift spirits and paint a brighter picture, with the launch of an innovative and exciting training facility that offers the prospect of work and the promise of new career pathways in Mechanical Engineering.

Witnessing their efforts, Senedd Member and Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for the Economy, Luke Fletcher MS, included the Academy’s base on the town’s docklands as part of a fact finding mission and was duly impressed. ” I would like to thank Cllr. Andrew Dacey (Plaid Aberavon)  for keeping me fully informed  about the excellent work being done by JES. There is a recognised shortage of welding jobs throughout Wales and we cannot hope to  close the productivity and skills gaps without highly skilled workforces in place. The company’s investment in and promotion of the Skills Academy is cutting-edge, forward thinking and highly innovative. Not only does it propose to strengthen JES as a company and improve their own resilience but the training they offer is inclusive, open to all and intended to serve the  heart of Port Talbot. There is no equivalent anywhere in  south Wales, enabling those requiring the highest level of skills training in the welding industry to receive it here in Wales and not across the border in the West Midlands.

With support received from the Elected Members and Officers at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, JES has created a Centre of Excellence for the development of Fabrication & Welding skills that aligns with industry need,  facilitates the drive to Net Zero and  offers local residents the crucial opportunities needed to develop their skills and the skills required for the economy of the future. Their efforts deserve every success and all of our support”. 

JES Skills Academy Project Lead Mr. Sam Owen said, ‘We have been expecting the announcement of job losses for some time but when it came, it was still a massive shock. However, we can either take news like this lying down or do something meaningful about it. At JES  we chose the latter. While we cannot hope to offset all of the redundancies announced, with help from people like Luke Fletcher we can make an impact. By offering alternative career pathways to an industry, perhaps the only industry that offers commensurate salary levels to those currently being earned, we can ease some of the pain that this community is undoubtedly going to endure. 

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 to experienced welder. Not only that, the Academy will also help you find employment..

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. While we will need more help along the way, this funding has helped us to get off to a great start”.

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

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