From a ‘one man band’ when it started in 1967, helping seven local engineering companies to improve their training schemes, the history of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Associations is one of continued success.
The early years
In its early days what was then the Herefordshire Engineeering Group Training Scheme had a single employee sharing his time between the member companies, with training purchased, where possible, from the local technical college or from the engineering training centre operated by a member company.
In the early 70s services expanded to cover training of supervisors and managers, although with resources limited this took place in hired or borrowed premises, before new fee scales brought in new non-engineering companies – and the Group becoming a limited company with charitable status and a board of directors.
The group’s growing reputation as a training provider was recognised nationally in 1983 when the Manpower Services Commission invited it to become a managing agent for the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). This allowed an expansion of engineering training opportunities, as well as opening up new areas such as business administraion and stores/warehousing – and access to a wider range of employer members.
With Britain in the grip of a recession, the Group boldly bought the training centre threatened with closure by its member company, took on three new staff, and became a major local training provider with, in 1986, the name of the Herefordshire Group Training Association Ltd.
In the same year the Association relocacted to its present site, and expanded services to cover safety training.
In 1990, following the requirement for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s) to be included in all YT programmes, the training purchased from the Technical College for business administration was brought ‘in-house’ and a small Business Administration Training Centre established
In the early nineties the Association re-established its ‘people skills’ training which was subsequently developed to cover management training up to NVQ Level 5.
August 1998 saw the addition of 6,000 sq ft of floor space at Hereford, and the following year the Association took over Worcester-based Midshire Training Services, and the opportunity to exapand its range of services among Worcestershire companies.
Four years later the Association acquired Worcester Business College, adding work-based admininstration training to its established engineering portfolio.
In 2004 the Association was recognised as the Engineering Centre of Vocational Excellence covering Herefordshire and Worcestershire and completed a million pound project to set up tailor-made training facilities in Sunnyside Road, Worcester, under the name of Worcestershire Group Training Association.
The chief executive of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Associations reports to members of a voluntary board of directors who are elected by the member companies representing all areas of manufacturing and processing.
Throughout its history the Association has held strong to its belief that employers can achieve more by working together than in isolation, and through this be self-sufficient for their future skill requirements.