Tuesday, September 23, 2014

News: Forging Futures at The AMRC

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The activities of the University of Sheffield's AMRC Training Centre have been praised in a new report, showing how UK universities and employers are working together to create a new generation of highly skilled workers.

Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham where the focus is on 250 students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships each year with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses.

The centre delivers high-level training, concentrating on sectors such as aerospace, energy and Formula One. It also hosts part time CPD courses with the training schedule guided by industrial partners and participating companies.

The centre has been used as a case study by Universities UK, a membership organisation for the country's higher education establishments, and UKCES, a publicly funded, industry led organisation providing strategic leadership on skills and employment issues in the four home nations of the UK.

The report, called Forging Futures, shows how employers are working with universities to build partnerships, tailoring courses to produce individuals with skills needed by their sector.

The report notes that both employers and universities benefit from improved collaboration, with businesses getting access to new talent, better productivity and improved competitiveness – both in the UK and globally.

At the AMRC Training Centre, apprentices are sponsored by employers ranging from smaller manufacturing companies to major companies such as Rolls-Royce. The training is employer-led which ensures that the apprentices gain a tailored set of skills and hands on experience that employers require. Rotherham firms supporting apprentices include AESSEAL, Macalloy, Bennett Saws and Darron SBO.

The report states: "A focus on highly specialised business needs and ensuring there is a legacy from any collaboration is vital for success. The AMRC Training Centre has experienced great success because it has focused on creating innovative solutions to what can be complex customer requirements, particularly in the advanced manufacturing sector. This means that the Training Centre creates an ideal collaborative environment for nurturing tomorrow's world-class engineers to thrive and to create complex, customer-oriented value solutions for the industry and for the economy of the UK in the future."

Professor Keith Ridgeway, co-founder of the AMRC, said: "Responding to the business needs of our partner companies at the AMRC we have designed with them a new approach to advanced technical education. What we have here at the AMRC Training Centre is true access – a programme different to what was already available in either further or higher education.

"Our apprentices are already employed whilst having 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 opportunity to graduate with an excellent degree, industrial experience and no debt."

"The need for such high-quality vocational education and skills is fundamental to the ability of the UK to be internationally competitive in manufacturing and to help rebalance our economy."

AMRC Training website

Images: AMRC Training

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