Swansea University is set to play a key role in shaping Wales’s manufacturing workforce of the future.
It will take the lead in a pilot project to promote and improve battery manufacturing skills a part of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Skills and Talent programme.
This programme, led by Regional Learning and Skills Partnership aims to create a trained workforce for the future across the key emerging sectors of energy, construction, manufacturing, digital and health.
In collaboration with Welsh firms Batri Ltd, Deregallera Ltd and ENSERV UK Ltd, academics from the University will develop a framework of short professional development courses to respond to an identified skill gap in battery manufacturing and its supply chain.
The courses will deliver specialised skills in just 10 weeks using a blend of online learning and in-person practical sessions that mirror real-world industry environments and equipment.
They plan to build knowledge, skills and career pathways in the fast-growing energy storage sector, where a specialised workforce is in high demand. The courses will be aimed at participants from students at entry/A-level and local workforce (level 3-5) from diverse professional and educational backgrounds looking for job-ready training.
The programme - unique in Wales - has been developed with the industry partners to target the skills needed in manufacturing settings. After the two-year pilot stage, it is hoped it will be expanded nationally and internationally, increasing job opportunities and the talent pipeline in Wales.
Project lead Professor Serena Margadonna, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “Through the project, the University will continue to support new and existing Welsh battery manufacturing businesses and their supply chain.
“The course is a response to a well-identified gap in the workforce, focussing primarily on skills in materials production, manufacturing and system integration thereby addressing the regional needs. It will help secure sustainability for the existing Welsh industry and attract inward investments from international and national players who would be able to tap into a local skilled workforce.”
The Skills and Talent programme lead Jane Lewis added: “This is such an exciting project that will develop skills in our region to support battery manufacturing and the wider energy businesses over the next decade. We look forward to working with Serena and her team and the wider business network, to ensure that South West Wales becomes a centre of excellence in battery training alongside a workforce for future investors.”
Deregallera Head of Battery Materials Dr Peter Curran said: ”Serena and her team are bang on point filling an urgent skills gap in UK and we are delighted to have the opportunity to shape the programme to fit industry needs, as we see them. We are looking forward to hosting our first students and getting them some hands on industrial experience.”
A spokesman for ENSERV added: “This highly skilful training programme will provide a better understanding of the entire battery manufacturing processes and help students to find their own role in the incipient shifts in major battery plants and take advantage of monumental changes down the road.”