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Engineering skills bodies to combine

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Merger of the two leading skills organisations in the engineering and metals sectors will create a new body capable of building on both organisations’ strengths.

So said Lindsay Millington, chief executive of Metals Industry Skills and Performance (MetSkill), which last month announced plans to merge with the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA).

MetSkill’s focus has been on developing the strategic skills base of the metals industry, including steel making and processing as well as steelwork contractors. Its strengths have been in working with employers to boost skills and productivity.

SEMTA, the larger organisation, is the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, with a focus on manufacturing firms. Sector skills councils are the government’s preferred channels of communication with industry on training issues. SEMTA operates more at national and regional level, seeking to influence government and developing occupational standards and qualifications.

“The two organisations differ but we have a variety of strengths which put together will produce an organisation bigger and better than both of us,” said Ms Millington.

She added that MetSkill members should not be concerned about a loss of influence in the merged body: “One of the benefits will be increased influence with policymakers nationally and regionally.” There will be “a strong representative structure” in the new organisation for employers from the metals sector, including two seats on the board.

Details of the merger are still being finalised, although the new body will still be called SEMTA and chief executive Philip Whiteman will remain in that post.

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