The dedicated welding training suite complete with 10 fully equipped welding bays, eLearning studio and new virtual reality welding hub was opened by Hertfordshire LEP Board Member Adrian Hawkins, Weldability-Sif Foundation Director and Trustee, along with West Herts College Principal Gill Worgan.

The centre at the Kings Langley campus received £136,883 Growth Deal funding from Hertfordshire LEP as part of its investment in skills development across the county.

The new £304,184 facility is part of the ongoing strategy from the Weldability-Sif Foundation Charity to pro-actively encourage the development of new welder training facilities across the UK. West Herts College is one of 29 colleges which have already agreed to provide training facilities funded by the Foundation Charity, which will be co-funding welder training facilities at colleges over the next five years.

Adrian said: “Welding plays an important role in manufacturing and is used in a multitude of different industries including food processing, quarrying, shipping, as well as energy and UK infrastructure industries. Welding plays an active part in keeping it all together and Foundation level welder skills training at West Herts College is another step towards a full apprenticeship programme designed to meet demand and overcome the current skills shortage in the UK welding industry.”

Gill Worgan, Principal, West Herts College, said: “Today’s welding industry urgently requires professionals with a high-level of technical ability. These skills can only be developed in partnership with leading employer-foundations like Weldability-Sif. By working together we can offer innovative teaching in state-of-the-art facilities. It’s about inspiring the next generation of professional welders, for a sector central to the success of the UK economy.”