A Midland university has signed a deal with an automotive parts supplier to create an in-house training centre.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the University of Wolverhampton, Walsall College and Darlaston based ZF Lemforder UK.
German owned ZF has been in the UK since 1973 and makes driveline and chassis components for car manufacturers, including Jaguar, BMW and Land Rover.
Another manufacturing plant in Solihull assembles axle modules for Land Rover’s Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.
The company will work with the university and college to design and accredit a series of courses that could lead to vocational qualifications and university awards.
Professor Ian Oakes, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise at the university, said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with ZF, sealing this exciting new relationship as part of our commitment to business and enterprise.
“By the end of the two-year project ZF will have a training centre and an agreed suite of courses in place as well as a strategic plan for future staff development.”
The courses will include operator training, both on and off the job, leading to qualifications such as NVQ Engineering, and work-based Masters degrees and doctorates.
The university will work with ZF to recruit a recent graduate to develop the planned training centre and Walsall College is also set to support the company with the delivery of its apprenticeship programme.
The new initiative will provide opportunities for work placements for students and ZF will be able to provide input into curricula to ensure courses are suitable for the needs of today’s businesses.
Terry Somerfield, managing director of ZF Lemforder UK, said: “We have worked hard to secure new and follow on business from our key customers and with this agreement between the University of Wolverhampton and ourselves, we are confident that we have engaged a strong partnership that will support the up skilling of our already committed workforce to deliver a quality product to our customers.”
The in-house training centre will be based on existing successful models within the automotive industry and other sectors, the university said.
All courses will provide opportunities for work-based projects, designed in conjunction with ZF to ensure activity is directed at organisational as well as individual development.
ZF has 121 production companies in 27 countries and is among the top 10 largest automotive suppliers in the world.