Bradford College has become the first education partner in the UK to launch the Energas Fabrication Excellence Student Support Scheme.
The programme is part of a wider initiative by Energas, a Air Liquide Group company specialising in cylinder gases and equipment, to address the global shortage of welders that governments and industry bodies are urgently trying to reverse.
In the UK, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened a national skills shortage, with the number of welders falling by a quarter in five years. Nearly half the nation’s welders are expected to retire by 2027.
The new Energas initiative is helping to stem this decline and support welding educational establishments, such as Bradford College and its students. The partnership will enhance existing college welding equipment, offer grassroots exposure to Energas products and services, and deliver safety and technical advice.
Safety is a crucial focus for the content of support materials designed for all skill sets and which enhance awareness of gases, equipment, storage, handling, and transportation used in metal fabrication processes.
Bradford College Trinity Green Campus currently offers Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in Welding and a Level 1 Certificate in Engineering Fabrication and Welding alongside other Level 2 and 3 Engineering qualifications.
Tony Carter, Lecturer in Fabrication and Welding at Bradford College, said: “We’re delighted with the bespoke package of support Bradford College has been offered, taking in to account our specific needs as an education provider. Energas will now be the go-to welding equipment and gas supplier for all students, including workwear, PPE, and ongoing consumable supplies.”
“This mutually beneficial agreement is driving footfall into the local Energas branch and increasing web traffic while also giving our students access to the latest industry equipment and sector knowledge.”
Bradford College has placed a large order with Andrew Bamford, Account Manager for Energas Bradford, for eight high-quality Lincoln Electric welding machines for MIG and TIG applications, plus a range of other metal fabrication cutting and welding equipment.
The state-of-the-art equipment will be used to train students at all levels – from those starting out in the field to experienced welders looking to upskill in new techniques, including individuals joining new part-time/night classes at Trinity Green Campus.
In recognition of the collaboration, Bradford College has also placed the Energas logo on welding marketing materials, new learner welcome packs, departmental banners, and safety posters to boost the Bradford Energas branch presence within student learning spaces.
Students will also benefit from an Energas discount scheme and QR codes for quick access to offers and support in a dedicated section of the Energas website.
Forbes England, Fabrication Excellence Market Manager for Energas, said: “Welding is an essential trade for future economic growth in the UK and so collaborative work like this is vital if we are to stop the decline in skilled welding professionals.”
“This is a fantastic example of a local business, Energas Bradford, supporting nearby welding education at Bradford College. By partnering together, we are united in our ambition to attract more individuals into a diverse and exciting industry offering international job opportunities across sectors and specialisms.”