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Businesses welcome new course to boost efficiency

(left to right) Sunderland College lecturer Bill Milestone, with Komatsu UK staff James Mudie, Steven Tremlett, Robert Place, Stephen Chapman, Luke Heath and Sunderland College lecturer Chris Dunn

Sunderland College has developed a tailored paint application course to help improve efficiency and savings within the manufacturing and engineering industry.

The college has worked with Komatsu UK, which is part of global organisation Komatsu, the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of construction and mining equipment, and has consulted with other sector specialists to design its Commercial Paint Plant Training course.

The programme was originally created for Komatsu UK to provide bespoke training for its apprentice paint technicians at the company’s manufacturing plant in Birtley which makes industrial crawler excavators.

Komatsu UK asked Sunderland College to create the bespoke course after it was highlighted in 2014 that the company’s existing paint apprentices were missing valuable paint shop specific skills.

Before this specific course was created by the college, Komatsu UK paint apprentices followed an engineering qualification route and the majority of paint training was carried out on-the-job.

Paul Blanchard, manufacturing director at Komatsu UK, said: “Komatsu UK supports a regular intake of manufacturing apprentices for disciplines ranging through fabrication, assembly and painting. Although there were specific courses for assembly and fabrication there were no specific courses for spray painting in the North East of England.

“Sunderland College has supported Komatsu UK in developing a bespoke spray painting course for vehicle paint apprentices.  This course provides the apprentice with both practical and theoretical knowledge of spray painting techniques, safety procedures, specialist equipment and new techniques being developed in the industry.

“The course developed by Sunderland College has ensured that the Komatsu UK apprentices have become fully competent sprayers in a much shorter time and with a broader knowledge of spray painting techniques resulting in improved efficiency and effective working methods at Komatsu UK.”

The Commercial Paint Plant Training course is a 20-week programme, delivered at the college’s Hylton Campus one day per week, and is designed to enhance the knowledge of paint technicians in refinishing operations.

Sunderland College lecturer Bill Milestone created the original course for Komatsu UK and is consulting with other manufacturing companies to develop and roll-out the programme across the industry.

He said: “The initial course we designed and delivered for Komatsu UK has been extremely successful and we are now looking to build on the positive results produced by this programme. As a result of their staff undertaking this training, productivity has increased and there has been a reduction in waste.

“The course will appeal to coating specialists, factories with production lines, powder coating companies and other businesses which specialise in the automotive and industrial equipment sectors.”

In September 2016, the bespoke training programme will be delivered from the college’s new £29million City Campus in state-of-the-art facilities with industry-standard equipment.

The flagship campus, which is currently under construction, will house all manufacturing and engineering courses as the college continues its focus on STEM education and industry support.

Sunderland College is hosting a working lunch on Thursday, 20 August at its Hylton Campus from 12-2pm for businesses to meet with college staff and to find out more about the course.

For more information about the Commercial Paint Plant Training course and to register for the working lunch, contact employers@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or call 0191 511 6484.

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