Staff at one of the region’s leading manufacturers are getting a better understanding of their industry thanks to a new partnership with Teesside University.
The first cohort of 12 Nifco UK employees have completed an Understanding Polymer Processing course which was designed specifically for employees at the Stockton-on-Tees factory.
Earlier this year, Nifco UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Teesside University which committed the two organisations to working closely together on skills, innovation and research and development.
Nifco UK, which is a wholly owned company of Nifco Group of Japan, manufactures a range of injection-moulded plastic products and has several factories across the world.
The Understanding Polymer Processing course was designed so that employees had a greater knowledge of the technology and materials used within their industry.
Gavin Wilkinson, Design Engineer
‘I found it very interesting from both a personal and professional point of view. It was good to learn about different polymers and how they behave and how they meet particular customers’ requirements.’
Anna Donaldson, Production Engineering Apprentice
‘I studied chemistry at A-Level and so understood about the chemical structures of polymers but this helped me learn about how their properties changed which I’d not touched on before. The course helped me broaden my horizons and understand the subject a lot better and helped bring it into perspective about how we do things now and how we could do things better.’
‘This is part of our journey to being an excellent company and building a greater base of skills to deal with the challenges within the polymer industry. There are limited providers of polymer training within the North-East, yet probably up to 12,000 people employed in the industry, so it is fantastic that Teesside University has been able to help us bridge our skills gap in this way.
‘We are working on a five year training and development programme with the University to help us move forward as a business so that we can meet the changes that are taking place within the industry.
‘While the company has got a lot of recognition in the past it is great that now our staff are also able to get recognition.’
‘The Understanding Polymer Processing course was delivered to people working with polymers every day, but this was a very intense course which dealt with advanced subjects, some of which were at master’s degree level.'
‘The course was designed to give people a much greater depth of understanding about how their industry works. The participants will now be able to make informed decisions and see where problems and challenges may occur in the future. We also looked at the new technologies and innovations which might have an impact on the industry.’