Automotive supplier Gestamp has joined forces with In-Comm Training to increase its learning and development offering and support employee retention.

smoothiewhich manufactures metal components for use in bodywork structures, has invested in a dedicated training center at its Four Ashes factory in Wolverhampton.

The six classrooms are being used to deliver lean manufacturing apprenticeships to a minimum of 60 existing team members each year, as well as a range of other development activities designed to increase the skills base of its workforce of 650 people.

The Gestamp Training Center (GTC) took twelve months to develop and houses two in communication Training specialists as well as Gestamp training specialists to supervise the level 2 course which combines theory with significant practical training on the shop floor.

Recruited from all areas of the company’s production, employees undergo a ten-week training program before completing a shop floor improvement project and a final assessment.


This project has the support of West Midlands Combined Authorityallowing Gestamp access to unspent tax funding by other organizations to use the learning model to develop existing employees and new recruits.

“We’ve transitioned and recruited up to 650 employees for our new Four Ashes factory, and now that this is complete, the next step was to get the Training Center up and running,” said Philip Carr, manager of learning and development at Gestamp.

“In-Comm Training has been supporting us with learning and qualification courses for over a decade, so we are the perfect partner to partner with to make this a reality. In the first few weeks of opening the center, we completed more than 1,000 hours of training!”

He continued: “Together, we have developed the dedicated learning space to support the delivery of Level 2 Lean Manufacturing Operational learning. Sixty of our employees are in the first group and we want to do the same number every year for the next four – which means that we will support around 250 people with this qualification alone. This is in addition to the 40 employees who are already enrolled in other stages from levels 2 to 6.

“In addition to leveraging skills within the business, we also want to encourage employees to stay with us. Today’s job market is very competitive and ‘retention’ is as important as recruitment for us.”


Gestamp has invested over £50m in the purpose-built facility at Four Ashes, a state-of-the-art factory producing hot and cold stamping for all major automotive brands.

The company also invests heavily in its people and, in addition to GTC, is working with In-Comm Training to offer apprenticeships in tools, robotics, skilled maintenance and continuous improvement.

Bekki Phillips, Director of Operations at In-Comm Training, added her support: “This is another fantastic example of how we are taking an employer-led approach to closing the skills gap in the industry.

“It’s more than giving courses; it’s about working with manufacturers to identify current and future problems and then creating innovative solutions that provide both short-term and long-term answers.

“That’s what we did with the GTC. This gives Philip and the team a home they can call their own, and more importantly, it has opened up the ability to upskill nearly 250 people between now and 2027. There is also a huge focus on retention and giving individuals more reason to to stay and grow within the business.”

The Gestamp Training Center is the latest in a long line of major milestones for In-Comm Training and follows the launch of its £3m Technical Academy in Telford and the £1m Precision Tools Academy in its headquarters in Black Country.

The latter is a UK first and offers a live commercial toolroom for global projects and a professional training ground for toolmakers and designers of the future.

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