Free Engineering Skills Bootcamps helping people find manufacturing jobs in Norfolk and Suffolk

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East Coast College has launched an 11-week course to bridge the technical skills gap in the engineering sector. It has designed the syllabus with input from New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME), the region’s manufacturing business leaders’ forum. Successful participants have already found rewarding work with firms in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

The college worked closely with members of NAAME to ensure the course meets the needs of local employers. It also worked with New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (New Anglia LEP) to secure Department of Education funding, which means the courses are free to eligible learners.

The first course launched in mid-2023 and many who took part have since found employment in maritime, energy and other advanced manufacturing businesses in the region.

Technical Support Operatives – Engineering Trades
As Rachel Bunn from East Coast College says: “This intensive course gives people skills for life, as well as confidence, essential certificates and a guaranteed job interview to kickstart their engineering career. It provides a unique opportunity to work closely with local employers, including site tours, guest lecturers, and masterclass training. Those who complete the course will have gained ‘workshop ready’ experience across 10 core areas, including health and safety, power tools, welding, machining and employability skills.”

James Williamson from NAAME explains: “The East of England has a thriving manufacturing and engineering sector. However, one of the biggest barriers to business growth is the inability of regional manufacturers to access skilled workers. With a substantial number of NEET [Not in Employment, Education or Training] individuals in the region, we are keen to highlight the opportunities and well-paid career pathways in this high growth sector through these new industry lead Engineering Skills Bootcamps.”

Skills needed to unlock jobs and business growth
Daniel Leggett, Managing Director of Eastern Hardware and Chair of NAAME’s East Coast Manufacturing Group, says: “Our members are local businesses that are committed to training, collaboration and regional economic development. We realise that as a single entity we cannot solve the skills challenge in the area. But through NAAME and our collective strength we have been able to build a consortium of like-minded business leaders dedicated to growing the talent pipeline in the area. We worked in partnership with East Coast College to develop and deliver the course because it is a recognised centre of excellence for energy, engineering and offshore skills training. As a result, the course meets local industry needs and the government’s success criteria for Skills Bootcamps.”

Employment success for learners on Engineering Skills Bootcamps

SMS Group is one of the many local companies supporting these Engineering Skills Bootcamps. The firm’s General Manager in Lowestoft, David Gooderham says: “We were delighted to be able to offer one of the first students a job with our team. Ben Reeves [pictured above] not only won the Best Student award at the end of his course but also impressed us with his attitude towards work, as well as his skills.”

Kickstarting manufacturing careers in January 2024
The next Engineering Skills Bootcamp, which starts 8th January 2024, is now open for applications. Individuals can apply now to East Coast College for this 11-week course. They will gain skills for life and get a guaranteed job interview– which has helped many previous students secure full-time employment.

To find out more about Skills Bootcamps, go to

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