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Pounds 5m centre steers students to work

An innovative manufacturing training centre formed under a unique partnership between car giant Ford, development agencies and college bosses opened this week.

The Pounds 5 million Waterton Technology Centre in Bridgend will be run by staff from Swindon College, Wiltshire, offering state-of-the-art manufacturing training for Ford as well as businesses across South Wales.

Students will train on a full production line - the only one of its type in Europe - capable of simulating all types of manufacturing.

The centre has been jointly funded by Ford, the Welsh Development Agency and Mid and South Glamorgan training and enterprise councils.

Ford - which builds engines for Fiestas, Escorts, Mondeos and Jaguars at its Bridgend plant - will train its technicians at the new facility. But small and medium-sized Welsh businesses will also be able to use the centre.

Allen Williams, chief executive of Mid Glamorgan TEC, said: "This centre represents a superb opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to become involved in an excellent manufacturing training facility that will provide their workforces with high-level skills and qualifications."

Ford's Bridgend plant manager, Colin Johnson, added: "The Waterton Technology Centre is going to provide a great boost for industry in Wales. Good technical training in key subjects like engineering, quality improvement, multi-skilling and group leadership development are essential for small and medium enterprises to compete successfully."

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