New academy to support glass industry jobs and apprentices

A new academy will be launched to enhance the recruitment of workers in the glass industry, with the overriding aim of ensuring Britain can compete on the international stage.

The multi-million pound initiative intends to set new standards in training and boost the number of apprenticeships.

Thousands of existing employees in the sector will also benefit from the Glass Academy, gaining new skills to further their career progression.

Glass now has many hi-tech applications, ranging from touchscreens for smartphones to solar and wind energy products, with the industry producing around four million tonnes of the material each year.

Around 7,000 direct and 45,000 indirect workers are employed in the sector, and trade body British Glass believes the academy can benefit the workforce in a number of ways.

"We must ensure we are doing everything possible to attract the best new talent and help our existing workforce to fully realise their potential," said Dave Dalton, chief executive of the body.

"The Glass Academy has been created to ensure we can compete internationally with a workforce that is world class."

British Glass represents the industry to national and local government, the EU and regulators, while informing members of legislative proposals and changes.

It actively promotes the use of glass as a material which is essential to modern life, as well as glass recycling, and Mr Dalton added it is now time for businesses to take the lead in helping Britain fight back and improve its global competitiveness.

The glass sector is very broad, incorporating a variety of areas including container glass, flat glass, domestic glass and decorative glass.

It is hoped that the academy will benefit each area of the industry, teaching workers skills relevant to the different varieties of glass.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock was full of praise for the initiative, claiming it would reap rewards for all involved.

He said: "The Glass Academy is a fantastic example of businesses working together with Government to help their industry to thrive, while also giving thousands of young people the opportunity to forge their careers in an evolving and growing sector."

Copyright Press Association 2013