A new state-of-the-art welding factory has been built by Stafford manufacturer Alstom.
David Kidney, MP for Stafford and Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, performed the opening at Alstom’s Lichfield Road site and the Mayor of Stafford, Councillor Jean Tabernor, was also in attendance.
The new facility for Alstom’s power and transport businesses, the company says, will make a major contribution to improving engineering skills in the region.
Use of the new facilities will be available to not only Alstom employees and apprentices but also to employees of welding companies from across the country.
The new facility complements existing training centres in Stafford and Rugby.
As part of Alstom’s continued commitment to Stafford, the new facility has the capacity to deliver almost 9,000 training days per year, allowing at least 275 welders a year to upgrade their skills.
It will provide basic welding appreciation courses as well as highly advanced practical MMA, MIG, TIG and flux core training, with qualifications and coding certifications in all processes and grades of material.
It also contains an expanded research and development bay where new welding techniques will be tested and developed.
Stephen Burgin, UK President of Alstom said: “This opening today is evidence of our commitment to Stafford and to the UK engineering industry. With the power sector set to expand in the UK, it is crucial our workforce has the skillset required to help us build and maintain power stations, now and in the future.
“With over 5,000 employees in the UK, these investments are designed to keep our company and our people at the cutting edge.”
French-owned Alstom has operations in 70 countries, employing more than 80,000 members of staff, and turned over £16.1 billion last year.
The firm, chaired by Patrick Kron, supplies power in conventional islands for nuclear power plants and in environmental control systems, high speed trains, metros and tramways across the world.
It announced last week it was on course to meet full year targets, but admitted second-quarter orders would remain low as power generation projects face delays.
The group posted first-quarter sales of £4.1 billion, up seven per cent year-on-year but just below analysts’ forecasts, while order intake fell 27 percent to £4.1 billion.
The company, which powers one-in-four of the world’s light bulbs, has received a record order intake this year. It includes 25 high speed and very high speed trains in Italy and Great Britain, contracts for metros in Chile, China and the U.S., 60 double-decker trains in France and tramways in Algeria, Dubai and Morocco.