A green sign with the words ‘net zero’ is held above a white and green scale model of an industrial park.

A free, online training platform, delivered by Swansea University, to upskill the current and next generation of workers in the steel industry, is being offered to people living or working in the Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council area.

The courses, available through the SWITCH-On program, aims to help the transition to net zero and promote decarbonisation by offering free, accredited, training covering various skills needed for the transition.

A range of skills courses available include introductions to Electric Arc Furnace operations, the Circular Economy, plus Fossil Free Steelmaking, where participants can learn more about the potential future options for steelmaking, what the changes will be, and why they will occur.

Caroline from Swansea, who works to develop new products available after the electric arc furnace is installed at the Tata Steel site in Port Talbot, had found it challenging to find the detailed information about electric arc furnaces she required for her jobs.  However, she has now completed two SWITCH-On Skills courses in electric arc furnace operations and fossil free steelmaking. 

Caroline said: “The SWITCH-On courses have given me a better understanding of the different technologies that will be used to produce net zero steel products in Port Talbot. I am already using this knowledge in my day-to-day work and I’m hopeful that a far greener future for the steel industry is achievable.”

Chris, from Skewen, who is a researcher at Tata Steel Research & Development, has completed three courses with the SWITCH-On programme.

Chris said: “I completed the fossil free steelmaking and electric arc furnace operations courses to gain a better understanding of the technologies that are likely to be implemented in the steel industry in the next few years.

“I also completed the Circular Economy course to understand how it can be used to achieve net zero and, as this a developing job-market within the UK, I feel the course will stand me in good stead in my future career.”

Dr Khalil Khan, project lead for Swansea University, said: “SWITCH-On Skills focuses on ensuring that the current workforce and businesses remain competitive and that there is a pipeline of talent coming through from schools and Further and Higher Education institutions. The experiences of Caroline and Chris highlight how this skills training platform can help empower people in the Neath Port Talbot community to play key roles in the net zero transition into the future.” 

SWITCH-On Skills is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

More information about SWITCH-On and the courses, can be found here.

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