The Royal Mint

Matthew James, Senior Process Improvement Specialist at the Royal Mint explains how they have used metal along with the benefits to the company and their employees.

Alex Collier

Alex, an Operations Manager at The Royal Mint, is currently working on the Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS) project at The Royal Mint. This is an exciting award winning technology developed by The Royal Mint to prevent fraudulent copies of coins being produced. At present Alex is working on the production of the new £1 coin where this technology will be used for the first time anywhere in the world.

Joining the company with 12 GCSEs, he started his working career in the general production area of the Mint. Due to his strong work ethic, Alex was moved to the coatings section of business and put on a personal development pathway, which included his enrolment on the metal project’s materials and coatings modules. Not having any involvement in education since his GCSEs, Alex told us that he was at first concerned that he would find the courses difficult. However, through hard work, commitment and a strong support network at The Royal Mint, Alex achieved the highest scores in his class on all but one of the five modules he undertook. He shared how his new skills and knowledge have added to his confidence and he feels he is now making a more valued contribution to his team, especially when it comes to problem solving and thinking of new ideas. Alex has definitely caught the learning bug and is now looking towards studying further metal courses, and hopes to progress onto a full degree course. Alex is a fantastic example of what can be achieved if you challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone.


Tata Steel Port Talbot plays a central role in the local economy and is a major employer in the area. The plant manufactures a diverse range of steel products which are exported to a range of overseas markets, as well as underpinning UK manufacturing industry. Tata Steel believes apprentices contribute in making the business more productive and efficient. A significant number of young, motivated and enthusiastic individuals have been recruited into the business via the apprenticeship programme, seeking hands-on industrial experience.

These apprentices learn from a carefully developed and specialised Tata Steel training programme provided by experienced Tata Steel staff, and complemented by Swansea University accredited courses through Project METaL. Project METaL is a work based learning program funded by WEFO-ESF, the project provides scientific and technical courses at Level 4 and above, in compliance with the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales (CQFW). The METaL courses are directly relevant to both the individuals and to the industry, providing a positive learning experience for the employee and a beneficial outcome for the employer. In addition, METaL courses can be used by the apprentices as the gateway to gaining further qualifications.

Huw Mathias, Training Delivery Manager quoted the following

"In addition to our Apprentices & Higher Apprentices gaining the skills and qualifications needed to become competent in their chosen Engineering, Manufacturing & Technical roles, it also important that they understand the steel making process in which they work and this is achieved through their work placements but underpinned through the METaL programme."

Success Story – James Lelliot

James Lelliott has been employed by Tata Steel since 2011, and started in the position of technical trainee. It was through his employer that he heard about the METaL Project. James attended six METaL modules including, Introduction to Materials, Manufacturing Technology, Corrosion and Coating, Process Evolution in the Steel Industry, Joining of Sheet Steel and Materials Resources.

The METaL courses complimented his day to day role in TATA and enabled him to gain the confidence to pursue further educational opportunities. He enrolled on a part-time degree with University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Materials Engineering. James is currently enrolled on an Engineering Doctorate programme at Swansea University, through the Materials and Manufacturing Academy. His focus is on high strength steels, and he is being sponsored by Tata Steel.

Brian Edy

Brian Edy, Technical Development Manager at Tata explains how they use metal and the benefits it brings to the company and their employees

Terry-Louise Betambeau

Terry-Louise Betambeau shares her experience of metal at the launch of the Materials Academy, a new Materials and Metallurgy training concept by Swansea University. For more information on the Materials Academy visit m2a.wales

Dragon LNG

Courses Dragon LNG have attended:
Environmental Issues.

Dragon LNG has a liquefied natural gas import terminal at Waterston, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. The site is able to receive, store and regasify Liquid Natural Gas- a vital source of clean and reliable energy for the UK. The site is designed, engineered and constructed to the highest specification to assure safety, environmental compliance, reliability and quality.

Dragon LNG are a company committed to continuous improvements of both its environmental standards and compliances. Training employees in the latest developments within this subject field is vital to ensure employees are aware of the impact their decisions and actions may have on the environment. As such Dragon LNG teamed up with the METaL project to develop an Environmental Issues course looking at the effects and causes of their operations on the environment from a Materials Science view point. The METaL project delivers work based learning modules in the subject field of Materials Science and Engineering and developed an environmental course which varied from the traditional format. The Environmental Issues course covers:
(a) environmental legislation and policies,
(b) the disposal of hazardous waste,
(c) air and water emissions and their impact on business and daily lives of local communities,
(d) new developments within the field of environmental friendly technology.

The initial course proved so successful that Dragon LNG commissioned further courses. Below are some of the comments we received following the course:

"The course gave a good overview with an understanding of the greater world issues"
"Beneficial course in regard to my works area and what improvements can be made"
"The training was all relevant and well delivered"



Oceaneering and metal working together

Oceaneering International is celebrating 50 years of business this year. Since it began, the company has transformed from a small regional diving company in America into a global provider of engineered products and services. In 2014, Oceaneering International employs over 12,000 people in 25 countries.

The services provided by Oceaneering International are many and varied, the regional office in Swansea is part of the Asset Integrity division, an industry leader in the provision of risk and reliability centered services. The Swansea regional office is always interested in ways to improve their technical knowledge so that their customer service remains at a very high standard. With the aim of improving technical knowledge Oceaneering attended a Corrosion and Coating Technology course provided by the metal project. The EU backed Materials Education Training and Learning Project is a unique work based learning project offering funded materials and metallurgy courses. The Corrosion and Coatings Technology course attended by the members of the Oceaneering team included chemical aspects of corrosion, dissimilar metal corrosion, crevice, pitting and differential aeration as well as methods of corrosion prevention by metallic and organic coatings.

Rod Thomas of Oceaneering describes this course as "an informative and thorough introduction into corrosion mechanisms and coating technologies. Many of the items discussed during this training can be applied to inspection projects globally"



How metal can help small business

LASE Ltd is primarily a laser cladding and hardening jobshop, but they also build machines and provide a consultancy service in the laser industry. They use a robotic laser cladding system to apply metallic coatings to industrial components in order to improve their corrosion or wear performance. Based in Neath they are a new enterprise that wanted to access training that was of a high standard but which was flexible to their needs. Their headcount is small and as such they find it difficult to meet their business whilst releasing employees for any protracted time period. Due to the flexible nature of the metal courses LASE were able to access courses that were of a high technical standard without any detrimental impact on the business. The ability to pick and choose courses of short duration to increase employee technical knowledge in key areas was advantageous to help ensure the business needs were met as well as enhancing the knowledge of their employees.

Ben Lester has attended Introduction to Materials, Corrosion and Coating Technology and Practical Metallurgy courses and said that "The metal courses have helped me gain an understanding and appreciation of the technical and metallurgical side of what we do at LASE. In particular the corrosion and coatings technology module, has greatly improved my understanding of the different types of corrosion and how our coatings can protect against them. I look forward to more courses in the future."