New engineering and construction training centre for the Forest of Dean

An exciting new partnership between two of Gloucestershire’s highest profile and most respected training centres, as well as a significant investment, means the Forest of Dean is about to get a new engineering and construction skills school.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Gloucestershire Engineering Training and AccXel are joining forces to create a new Forest of Dean training centre for apprentices.

Work is underway on a new engineering and construction skills training centre in the Forest of Dean, after two of Gloucestershire’s leading training providers for businesses forged an exciting new partnership.

Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET), which works with some of the county’s outstanding businesses in its sector, and construction skills specialist AccXel, have joined forces to redevelop the building next to AccXel’s campus in Cinderford, previously home to nursery school, Happy Turtles.

Warren Thomas, chief executive officer of GET, which has 50 staff and an estimated 128 Level 3 apprentices, almost 40 Level 4 apprentices and 50 to 60 higher education learners starting in September 2023, said: ‘GET is conscious that there has been no engineering training support in the forest for some considerable time, and we needed to resolve this.

‘It is key to invest in training the future generation, we are all aware of the resource shortage across all sectors across the nation, key to all success is the people.

'The demand is there in the forest area; however, the challenge has always been on the logistics of getting to Gloucester five days a week for the first year due to learners not being able to drive.

‘Furthermore, one of our key considerations is our carbon footprint and reducing it, this project also supports this area.

‘Finally, last but by no means least, developing a partnership with an organisation such as AccXel who truly understand the forest is crucial. Like-minded people, doing like-minded things.’

Nicola Bird, AccXel’s managing director, said: ‘There is a huge demand for local provision from students based in the Forest of Dean who find the logistics of travelling to Gloucester or Cheltenham difficult. By increasing education provision in the Forest of Dean, we are giving more local opportunities to local youth. 

'We have also had an increase in demand from our employer partners for more trades apprentices since our programmes started in September. AccXel is in a perfect position to satisfy both demands.'

AccXel, which only opened its doors at the start of 2022, currently has 33 apprentices, a figure expected to rise to more than 100 in September 2023, with 50 to 60 more construction apprentices joining its existing programmes and an additional 10 to 15 new apprenticeship joining its programme in JCB Plant Maintenance.

It also expects to handle between 30 and 40 apprentices through GET’s various engineering programmes.

Regeneration of the former nursery is due to be completed later in 2023, delivering capacity to train an additional 100 new engineering and trade apprentices.

AccXel and GET are both recruiting now for apprenticeship programmes starting in September 2023.

In partnership with...

Founded in 1977 by a partnership of county businesses, Gloucestershire Engineering Training provides apprenticeship training for the county’s best and most innovative engineering firms and continues to support apprenticeships as a route to work and career development.

Globally successful engineering firm Renishaw was founded in 1973 by two former engineering apprentices and works across a wide variety of sectors, including aerospace, automotive and healthcare. Renishaw continues to show dedication to apprenticeships at all levels, too.

SGS College has forged strong links with businesses and helps train hundreds of students annually at Level 2, 3, 4 and higher, in everything from accounting and finance; business administration; carpentry; joinery; education and childcare; gas engineering and electrical installation; construction; teaching; HR; to customer services and more.

Helping more than 700 apprentices in Gloucestershire qualify each year in sectors ranging from catering to computing, Gloucestershire College cultivates strong relationships with businesses of all sizes to understand what they need and to support students through to a successful career.

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