Courses for Forces

Contour Academy has developed a course for forces personnel seeking a new career in the classic car and sheet metalwork industries. Our Courses for Forces have been specifically tailored to help forces’ leavers learn traditional sheet metalwork skills which can lead to a recognised qualification (level 3 NVQ).

The courses are focused on teaching traditional hand skills, while incorporating the use of modern equipment and methods. Here are just some of the fields in which these skills are employed:


  • classic car body restoration
  • vintage sports and race car bodywork
  • vintage aircraft panel work
  • custom car body fabrication
  • custom motorcycle fabrication
  • kit car body fabrication
  • sculptural sheet metalwork
  • architectural sheet metalwork
  • prototype bodywork

Contour Academy is accredited by EAL, which is the UK’s leading certification body, and is a recognised ELC provider (provider number 3452). This means our courses are eligible for the forces leavers’ annual resettlement grant. Visit ECAS website


If you are a resettlement officer and would like further information on our courses, please call Bruce today on 01406 330504.


The course

Week 1 – Stage 1

This covers an introduction to the principles of sheet metalwork and will give you the confidence to tackle repair work and form double-curvature panels.


It’s designed to suit all levels of experience and allows for varying degrees of skill.


During the course we will demonstrate how to manufacture professionally-finished panels with basic tools and equipment as well as using more sophisticated equipment such as wheeling machines.


You will learn


Pattern making - measuring and marking out complex shapes and structures accurately


Jig building - constructing basic jigs and fixtures to aid reproduction of original parts


Body construction - aligning panels to create flowing bodylines and parallel gaps


Tool making - how to construct simple tooling to replicate original recesses etc


You will learn and practise


Flanging - shrinking and stretching metal to form convex and concave curved flange. You will also learn how to wire a flanged edge


Shaping - hand forming and smoothing double-curvature panels to accurately fit a jig and hammering smooth over a steel dolly. We will also teach you basic use of the wheeling machine


Butt welding - joining thin sheets of metal using a tig welder without adding filler rod to create a smooth finish. This is an important technique used in the making and fitting of repair panels to achieve a seamless joint


Annealing and heat shrinking - annealing aluminium alloy to aid shaping and heat-shrinking steel panels to repair stretched areas


Week 2 –Stage 2

This covers the principles and practise of designing, making and use of jigs and tooling for the manufacture and restoration of complex sheet metal panels.


You will learn


Developing jigs - purpose, design, construction and use


Developing tools - purpose, design, construction and use


Materials - understanding the properties and appropriate use of various materials


Joining materials - exploring the various methods of joining panels


You will learn and practise


Taking profiles - replicating complex curves and configurations


Making patterns - developing patterns to accurately reproduce original parts


Constructing jigs - making, setting out and assembling jig structure


Making tooling - producing bespoke tooling to replicate original detail


Flanging - forming flanges around tooling using advanced techniques


Shaping - forming and smoothing complex double-curvature panels to accurately fit jig


Butt welding - using a TIG welder to join thin sheet steel and aluminium alloys without filler rod enabling a joint to be hammered to a smooth finish


Course costs
8 days – £2083 (£2500 inc. VAT)
You pay £500 - ELC covers £2000 (subject to obtaining full grant)


2017 Courses for Forces Course dates

  • 13th - 23rd March
  • 8th - 18th May
  • 7th - 17th August
  • 13th - 23rd November

Please email or call for further details