Golden chance for people to upskill in emerging technologies

IF 3D printing and associated digital manufacturing skills are the future then Cumbrian businesses and individuals are being given a golden chance to get ahead of the game – but they need to act now.

A range of fully-funded and part-funded courses are available as part of a pilot programme to help upskill the Cumbrian population in emerging technologies.

Experts in their field 3D 360 are rolling out Cumbria Skills Bootcamps from December-March to ensure businesses and individuals across the county don’t miss out on an opportunity to gain skills in a discipline where job opportunities are growing fast.

The Skills Bootcamps, which are subsidised by the Department for Education, are an ideal training opportunity for learners and employers who either live or work in Cumbria to get fully funded or heavily subsidised upskill, reskill, CPD training opportunities in Digital and Additive Manufacturing, 3D CAD and Industry 4.0.

Those on the courses receive 66 guided hours of learning completed in six-hour sessions over eight to 11-week periods.

On the introduction to 3D printing course they also receive a free 3D printer so they can continue learning or go straight into prototyping, production or maintenance activities.

Lee Fogg, Technical director of 3D 360 which employs 12 people said: “Almost every business you can think of will have a use for 3D printing which will help make their operation more efficient, saving them time and money and giving them a competitive edge.

“We work across the North-West with everyone from big industry to individual artists selling their products on Etsy.

Paul Bullock (left) and Lee Fogg, directors of 3D 360, which is running a range of fully-funded and part-funded courses as part of a pilot programme to help upskill the Cumbrian population in emerging technologies.

“This is about bringing technology and a smarter way of working to people who can then apply that in their own business or industry sector.

“3D printing is the future of manufacturing and is a great leveller when it comes to competing on a global stage. Job opportunities are expanding rapidly in this area. 

“It’s also an industry which has major carbon benefits. You manufacture at source, there’s no transport to consider, you only use materials that you need, there is virtually no waste and one of the things that people forget is that there is no packaging either.

“The programme we are running will help people to get ahead of the game by accessing and developing these skills at either no cost or low cost. It’s a chance to future-proof yourself and your career.

“But people need to act quickly to sign up for a course. This is a pilot programme in Cumbria and future funding relies on the success of this pilot.

“If the places aren’t taken up in Cumbria then the opportunity may well be lost after March next year.

“We have seen a big uptake in the Manchester and Cheshire areas and we don’t want Cumbria to miss out through a lack of awareness about the opportunity.

“Unless people get onboard with digital technology the region risks missing out and if we are not smart about this then people will get left behind. None of us want to see that happen.”

Run by research and development engineers Lee and business partner Paul Bullock, 3D 360 is an engineering company known for being a subject matter expert in 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing), Digital Manufacturing and 3D CAD.

Due to their expertise the duo were asked to be part of a High Value Manufacturing Catapult programme to identify skills gaps in the UK economy.

The programme concluded there were four key areas which needed urgent attention: Robotics Pick and Place Automation, Electric Vehicles, 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing), and Composites.

Lee said: “As an example 97 per cent of UK motor mechanics have never worked on an electric vehicle. The consumer demand is there – but the supply chain and support isn’t.”

To address the 3D printing skills gap, 3D 360 runs a range of programmes including rapid upskill short courses aimed at an employee coming out of their industry for three days, learning a skill and going back into their industry and applying that skill.

Graduates, engineers, project managers, all companies that are looking to become digital manufacturers, might also be interested in an 11-week course which covers augmented reality, virtual reality, digital twinning, AI, robotics, 3D scanning, 3D printing and 3D CAD, electric vehicles and the factory of the future.

All the courses are free for the self employed, unemployed and those making a career change. 

For SMEs with under 250 people and larger businesses the government-backed courses are heavily subsidised by 90 per cent and 70 per cent respectively with SMEs paying £250 and larger businesses with over 250 employees paying £750 for the 11 days of training.

Learners need to be aged 19 or over on August 31, 2022 and either live or work in the Cumbria region to be eligible for the courses.

To find out more about 3D 360 courses including the Introduction to 3D Printing and 3D CAD and the Digital Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 course and how you or your business can sign up visit:

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