New £1m Precision Tooling Academy to save vital skills

More than £1million has been invested in setting up the Precision Tooling Academy by partners metal parts specialist Brandauer and skills provider In-Comm Training.

The centre within In-Comm the West Midlands is fitted out with the state-of-the-art equipment and will serve as both a commercial toolroom and a practical and theoretical training ground for next generation makers and designers. 

A major vehicle manufacturer, who contributed to the curriculum, has already signed up engineers. 

The risk of essential skills being lost forever as workers retire and the opportunity to incentivise reshoring prompted the partners to take action. 

“We’re at a pinch point,” warns Birmingham-based Brandauer’s chief executive Rowan Crozier.

“There is a real demand to create and upskill engineers into world class toolmakers,” says In-Comm’s managing director Gareth Jones. 

“Our training will be unlike anything currently on the market – very competitive compared to current recruitment costs – and is for everyone, whether you are an original equipment manufacturer or part of the supply chain.

“Toolmaking is one of the great manufacturing disciplines. This is a ground-breaking project for manufacturing as a whole.”

The Academy has also attracted the support of Inventive Engineering & Design and Hexagon Metrology, who will bring product development, jig and fixture design and VISI die making expertise to the fore.

Unique to the toolmaking sector, the latter is an end-to-end CAD/CAM solution that is used in the design, simulation and manufacture of progressive & stamping dies and supports all parts of the process.

“Exchange rates are already boosting a recent reshoring trend that has seen us win new tooling projects back from China and other low-cost countries,” added Crozier.

The 20-week programme, which starts in March, will follow development of a live tool project covering 12 different units from manufacturing and costing to using a wire EDM machine and validation.

The course costs £10,000 and 35 places will be available initially. A longer design engineering scheme next year will eligible for apprenticeship funding. Visit

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