J.E.S. Group Ltd (JES) was set up in 1982 and started its business operation specialising in pipework fabrication and installation.
It was incorporated in May 2015 and has evolved into a multi-disciplined mechanical engineering company of repute, with excellent quality assurance and a first class Health & Safety record.
Currently employing 114 staff, it possesses the in-house expertise to undertake major contract work that includes; intelligent demolition, structural steelwork design and installation, under pressure drilling, significant surface and subterranean pipeline installations, NDT inspection, design and installation with associated process and control systems for gas holder tanks and pressure vessels. The company requires support by way of grant funding for a state-of-the-art Skills Academy to assist with the development of Fabrication & Welding skills that align with industry needs and the opportunities presented by Net Zero, the Circular Economy and the Celtic Freeport.
Based at the company’s headquarters in Port Talbot’s docklands, the ’Skills Academy’ plans to use the latest immersive digital technologies to work alongside first class, face-2-face tuition from expert trainers to harness the large repository of skills accumulated by the existing JES workforce.
The Skills Academy will look to merge the virtual world with the real world of work through a blended training solution. If not captured and passed on, these skills, allied to the experience obtained in their acquisition will be lost to retirement.
The JES workforce can demonstrate, from working lives plying their tradecraft all over the world, a unique collection of skills in the mechanical engineering industry.
The harnessing of these skills alongside the use of the latest digital technologies, to provide safe, experiential, hands-on training in a secure, non-hazardous environment is the project’s USP.
Expert experienced tuition alongside the use of the latest immersive technology (e.g. Augmented Reality) is at the centre of the company’s plans.
Apprentices, existing welders looking for upskill and professional development, employment seekers looking for entry pathways into the mechanical engineering industry and even local school pupils, will be able to sample, learn or augment the skills needed to choose or improve a career in the industry.
The ultimate objective is to future proof the Fabrication and Welding learning process and deliver an enterprise class blended training solution that addresses the Fabrication and Welding industry’s skills shortage across South Wales, while ensuring that the apprentices who graduate through the programme and those benefiting from upskill training, are the best they can be, are Net Zero aware and ready for the world of work.
JES has correctly assessed that the future is a digital one and will attempt to embrace technology’s potential without losing sight of the practical steps necessary to ensure that a detailed, full and comprehensive learning process is delivered.
The company’s longer term aim is to become a training service provider for the provision of Fabrication & Welding skills and development.
During this process, they want to promote the attraction of employment in the mechanical engineering industry to a generation of school pupils.
Specifically the project seeks funding for:- The appointment of a time served, qualified, highly experienced Senior Instructor @ £ pa for the Skills Academy - £80k over 2 years.
The cost of assimilating 2 experienced, time served F&W professionals, nearing retirement into P/T work over a 2 year period at the Skills Academy as instructor/mentor/tutors for the Apprentice and CPD/Upskill Programme @ £15k each pa - £60k over 2 years.
The cost of 1 P/T administrative assistants to handle the necessary admin requirement @ £15 pa - £30k over 2 years (Indirect Cost? - Match Funding?).
The cost of designing, building supporting and hosting a modular digital platform with bespoke training content and administrative capabilities to support the project £80k.
The cost of a P/T Schools’ Liaison/Training Officer (SLTO) to promote the project £10k pa - £20k over 2 years Design, map and build modular, digital training programmes of varying duration, to tackle skills shortages in mechanical engineering and help support the provision of work relevant training and work experience in order to supply semi-skilled employees for the SW Wales mechanical engineering workforce. Vehicle Hire/Lease Costs for SLTO @ £4,800 pa - £9,600 over 2 years (Indirect Cost? - Match funding).
A marketing budget to promote the project @ £5k pa - £10k over 2 years.
Teaching resources: Digital devices iPad/Toughbook/Laptops x 10 - £3,500 Equipment 1: Large TV screens x 2 - £3k Equipment 2: 2 x (Seabery) Soldamatic Augmented Reality Simulators @ £25k each - £50k Cost of Utilities/Rent/Business Rates/Materials (Aka ‘o.verheads’ - £ pa x 2 years (Indirect Costs - Match Funding up to 15% Max of the total cost)
Location - The activities will take place at the Skills Academy building, associated workshops and, in time, adjoining classrooms on the current JES outside yard site on ABP leased premises at Port Talbot dockland.
Courses will encompass day/night or twilight sessions to suit demand. Scheme Beneficiaries JES Apprentices currently employed by the Company Existing JES staff without formal qualification requiring upskill or new skills acquisition Apprentices or students with other training providers requiring expert work based training.
Employment seekers requiring sample or entry pathways into mechanical engineering. School pupils wishing to experience sample sessions in a safe, non-hazardous, environmentally friendly setting with highly skilled and experienced instructors Training Delivery Blended delivery i.e. hands-on, face-2-face instruction allied to Augmented Reality and on-demand modular digital content that aids learning and assists employability e.g. CV Builder. Evidence of Need Across the SW Wales region almost every document published in connection with strategic economic planning, highlights skills shortages in mechanical engineering as one for concern, attention and investment. 3E)
What are short and long term benefits of the pilot project on its beneficiaries and the Skills & Talent Programme?
An immediate uplift in the skills level of the existing workforce, helping JES to improve the company’s efficiency and productivity.
JES as a company will be able to expand the level of services it provides to existing customers with more varied and complex contracts undertaken.
JES will be able to diversify, broadening and extending its customer base JES Apprentices will complete their apprenticeships with a professional level of competence ready for the world of work.
The Skills Academy, its training and facilities will be offered to other Training Providers and Engineering Companies who are currently unable to provide the same level of work based training, resulting in an overall elevation of Fabrication & Welding skills in SW Wales. CPD and re-entry into work opportunities will exist through a range of MIG/MAG, MMA & TIG courses for those with basic welding abilities wishing to upskill. Employment seekers can sample the entry pathways into the mechanical engineering industry and then pursue routes into semi-skilled or fully skilled work.
School pupils can explore and sample in a safe, non hazardous environment, the high quality, work based, career pathways that exist in mechanical engineering which hitherto were excluded to them In the short term, there is an immediate uplift in productivity and efficiency to JES as a company, its workforce will be upskilled and current apprentices will serve their time highly skilled, better prepared and ready for the world of work.
As there are no similar schemes within reasonable daily travelling distance anywhere across South Wales, those requiring CPD and re-entry to work can upskill; apprentices with other engineering companies and training providers can avail themselves of these facilities, those currently unemployed seeking entry level pathways to work can sample and/or become semi-skilled and a very impactful and important engagement process on behalf of careers in mechanical engineering, will take place with schools and school pupils.
The overall result will a better trained and prepared workforce across the region.
Duplication & Innovation. This project’s fundamental USP resides with the skills and experience that sits within JES’s vastly experienced workforce.
With retirement and natural wastage, this dies and when lost becomes very hard, if not impossible to replace.
JES recognises this and for their own welfare and their continued success as a company need to take action.
Its own market research with other training providers and engineering companies in SW Wales, has led it to conclude that training providers in academic institutions are, more often than not, unable to offer the financial packages needed to attract the most qualified instructors.
In addition, other engineering companies are not large enough or do not have the specialist workforce, or the range of contracts that JES regularly handle, to be able to offer the experiential training needed.
JES wish to utilise the skills and experience of its workforce and ally it to the latest digital and immersive technologies to provide an overall training solution that future proofs those graduating from the Skills Academy.
The project is innovative, far ranging and does not duplicate existing provision only improves it.
Evidence the sustainability of the pilot project post Skills & Talent funding. Describe what the longer term vision is post pilot stage.
The longer term vision post pilot stage is for JES to have evolved into a fully accredited Training Provider for the provision of Fabrication & Welding Apprenticeships in South Wales and be in a position to bid for funding.
By pilot completion stage, JES will have also completed the construction of its CPD training modules, programmes and courses and defined its market offering and price points for each.
For the duration of the pilot, targeted marketing via social and other media channels, alongside contact with existing Training Providers, industry word of mouth and school/college promotion will provide market penetration and ensure the scheme recruitment meets its target numbers.