Friday, October 17, 2014

News: AMRC Training Centre leads the way

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The AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham has received a royal seal of approval as those behind the ground-breaking initiative aim for it to be "right at the top" in terms of engineering the next generation.

The official opening of the £20.5m centre took place this week with HRH The Duke of York, KG "blown away" by The AMRC's contribution to the future.

Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the centre is on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) where it delivers high-level training, concentrating on sectors such as aerospace, energy and Formula One. It is set to reach full occupancy, with 250 new apprentices starting at intervals from September 2014 through to March 2015.

At the AMRC Training Centre, apprentices are sponsored by employers ranging from smaller manufacturing companies to major companies such as Rolls-Royce. Rotherham firms supporting apprentices include AESSEAL, Macalloy, Bennett Saws and Darron SBO.

At the official opening event, Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, executive dean of the AMRC, said: "The AMRC Training Centre is having a big economic and social impact. I want to put the AMRC right at the top. I want visitors to come here and think "I want to be an apprentice."

Alison Bettac, director of training at the AMRC, added: "We believe we have been able to show the Duke the blueprint for developing the high-quality vocational education and skills British manufacturing desperately needs and a route into further and higher education for young people who might otherwise never consider or be able to afford going to university.

"Other higher and further education institutions are already emulating what we do here. We've set the bar high and are leading the way."

The training is employer-led which ensures that the apprentices gain a tailored set of skills and hands on experience that employers require.

Vince Middleton, chairman of Newburgh Engineering praised the AMRC Training Centre for turning something employers had dreamed of into reality.

"It is amazing how critical and important the Training Centre is," said Mr Middleton. "If you have an apprentice there for 12 months, you know they are going to start contributing to your business as soon as they return.

"It also enables young people to realise that an engineering apprenticeship isn't a dead end, but the start of a long and fruitful career where they can progress, and an educational pathway that can take them to university and a degree."

Apprentice Mark Innes, who is studying for an extended diploma in engineering and hopes to go on to university, agreed.

"There is nothing to compare with the training centre, he said. “The training it provides and the equipment is possibly the best you can get in the country.

"If you have got an apprenticeship, you are employed straight off, rather than going direct to university and then struggling to find a job. The Training Centre gives you a working understanding of how industry and engineering works as a whole, so that when you go to university you already understand the practice."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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