Friday, September 5, 2014

News: AMRC recognised for widening participation in manufacturing

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The AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham has been shortlisted for a national education award for the way it is widening participation in manufacturing and engineering.

Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

Backed by a £9.2m government grant and funding from companies, the state of the art centre opened on the Waverley site last year. The focus is on 250 students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies.

The University of Sheffield has been nominated for three awards across the 18 categories in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2014: Widening Participation Initiative of the Year, Outstanding International Student Strategy, and Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers.

The AMRC's nomination reflects the exceptional achievements of the first full annual cohort of 250 Advanced Apprentices employed by high value manufacturing companies.

The apprentices are employed by manufacturing companies keen to benefit from the high-quality training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally.

Professor Keith Ridgeway, co-founder of the AMRC, said: "The need for high-quality vocational education and skills is fundamental to the ability of our region and of the UK more widely to be internationally competitive in manufacturing and to rebalance our economy.

"Our partner companies at the AMRC told us they needed something different to what was already available in either further or higher education, so we designed a new approach to advanced technical education with them.

"What we have here is true access – a programme in which our apprentices are already employed and yet have the ability to train to the highest standard in an internationally-leading research centre, fully embedded in an advanced manufacturing culture. They also have access to progression into higher education, with the ability to graduate with an excellent degree, industrial experience and no debt."

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield, added: "We are deeply proud of what the AMRC continue to achieve with industry. They are rethinking our whole approach to research and teaching as it relates to manufacturing, and their courage and vision is setting the standard nationally and internationally."

The winners of the awards will be announced in November at an event in London.

AMRC Training website

Images: AMRC

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