Friday, October 17, 2014

News: Duke officially opens AMRC Training Centre

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HRH The Duke of York, KG has officially opened the £20.5m AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham, the pioneering centre that is shaping young people into the future of manufacturing in the region.

Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the focus is on providing the skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally. Providing the human side of regeneration on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), it is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund and 250 students a year, aged from 16 upwards, are being taken on paid apprenticeships with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses.

During The Duke of York's tour His Royal Highness was shown how it combines state-of-the-art educational facilities with training workshops, equipped with production-class manufacturing equipment.

The Duke of York, an active supporter of expanding access to apprenticeships, also had the opportunity to meet some of the centre's current trainees, their employers and training centre staff.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of The University of Sheffield, said: "We are delighted to once again welcome The Duke of York to the AMRC. His Royal Highness has supported the work of our engineers and member companies every step of the way, and we know he takes real personal satisfaction in seeing how our research is being applied within UK companies helping them to compete even more effectively for business around the world.

The Duke has previously performed the official opening duties for the AMRC's Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future in 2008 and Nuclear AMRC in 2012.

Burnett, added: "The Duke of York has also always been aware that this work is about more than products, it is about the skills and jobs which offer opportunity to young people and which change their lives. Welcoming him to our Training Centre will allow His Royal Highness to meet these talented young people for himself and to see how the AMRC is developing the manufacturing engineers of the future."

Torston Middleton, a first year apprentice at the AMRC Training Centre sponsored by Rotherham-based Newburgh, welcomed the royal visitor and said that it would raise the profile of the centre and give the apprentices a lift.

Performing the official opening Prince Andrew said: "Apprenticeships - to some they have been a difficult commodity and to me that is disappointing. I want to change that completely because these apprentices prove their worth to the nation's economy. Apprentices have a "wealth of knowledge" and they should be encouraged by parents, schools and businesses. Young people should be told what they can do, not what they can't, and in this route, manufacturing apprentices can go right through to PhD level.

"Businesses are crying out for the skills of young people and apprenticeships are more important today when it comes to training. Just look at this institution, its kit, its activities. The apprentices don't just learn one thing, they acquire a broader set of skills.

"Remember, this drive or ambition to encourage young people to get the skills and education is not chasing numbers but about making the UK as prosperous as we can. We need these young people in order to be a prosperous nation.

"The level of learning and training here is absolutely outstanding and I wish all the apprentices, businesses and sponsors every success. I have been blown away by The AMRC's contribution to the future.

"The AMRC and what is happening here is having a major impact on local industry and so I want you to pass on this message to businesses and parents - young people can achieve anything and an apprenticeship is one way to make a major contribution."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: Duke of York / twitter

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