The Welsh Development Agency and Ford motor company are establishing a Manufacturing Training Centre at Ford's engine plant in Bridgend South Wales.
The Pounds 3.5 million centre is expected to be modelled on a similar venture at Ford's car factory in Valencia, Spain. There the training centre is recognised as a fully accredited department of the University of Valencia.
The WDA and Ford hope that both the University of Glamorgan and Cardiff Institute of Higher Education will become similarly involved with the Bridgend venture.
When it opens next year the centre will train 300 students in engineering and management. Some of the training will be at further education level, in partnership with Bridgend FE College. But it is hoped that undergraduate engineers will also use the centre.
Intended mainly to train people planning to work in the motor industry in South Wales, the centre is also likely to prove attractive to the 120 automotive component companies working in the region.
A consortium made up of the WDA, Ford, local TECs and the participating colleges will manage the centre. It will be self-financing with companies and colleges paying for the training. In the evenings it is likely to add to its income by copying the Valencia approach of catering for the local community.
Ford's plant manager at Bridgend, Colin Johnson said training was essential for the development of a motor industry in Wales. "It will be a significant advantage for the industry as a whole if people from a range of companies, including both suppliers and customers, are trained to the same high common standard."