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College advances with its new materials centre

College advances with its new materials centre

Ken Skates opened the new Dennison Advanced Materials Centre at Coleg Gwent's Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone
The College has officially launched the Dennison Advanced Materials Centre, the first of its kind in Wales!

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, officially opened the new centre at our Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone today with companies such as British Airways, GKN Aerospace and Zodiac Aerospace, plus lots more.

The centre, that was part funded by the Welsh Government, is named after Jon Dennison, who sadly died in 2015. Jon, the former Government Liaison Director at GKN Aerospace, was a pioneer in the field of composite materials and had a vision of creating a ‘Composites Corridor’ in South Wales. His main aim was to train those based in South Wales with the sector expertise, focusing on young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their potential.

The College will introduce the first Advanced Composites Apprenticeship course in Wales which students can study from January 2019 in the new centre, which consists of four classrooms.  

What is a composite material?

A Composite material is made up of two or more constituent materials, often ones that have very different physical or chemical properties. The two materials work together to give the composite unique properties. Examples of composite materials include carbon fibre, reinforced concrete and metals used in racing cars, shower stalls and bridges, plus lots more.

The composites sector in Wales stands at £2.3 billion but has the potential to grow to £12 billion by 2030.

Our students already have experience with composite materials as they helped build the College racing car as part of their course; they will also learn to maintain and service the car on the track and in the classroom.

John Sexton, Campus Director Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, said: “We’re thrilled to be the first college in Wales, and fourth college in the UK, to offer the ‘Introduction to Composites’ course for students.

“We’ve been working closely with the National Composite Centre on the course content and required equipment so students can be confident that they’re learning the most up-to-date techniques.”  

Before the course is rolled out to students from January, Cwmbran based company Zodiac Aerospace has enrolled some of their staff to pilot the course, in order to upskill their engineers and shop floor workers.

“We’d like to thank Zodiac Aerospace Ltd who have provided our first cohort of students and with whom we will continue to work very closely indeed. We’ll be looking to roll out the course to other companies in the near future, watch this space”, continued John.

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