Friday, October 9, 2015

News: Apprentices forging careers in manufacturing

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130 new apprentices have gained places at the pioneering AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham, the centre that was recently dubbed "the manufacturing cradle of the future" by Chancellor George Osborne.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, The AMRC Training Centre forms part of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) group and provides training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally, from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level.


The focus is on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies. The AMRC Training Centre takes 250 advanced apprentices a year and is currently providing training for more than 350 first and second year apprentices and hopes to significantly increase that number with further Government backing.

As part of the latest intake, more than 130 teenagers have secured jobs and signed up for advanced apprenticeships. That compares with around 70 at this time last year and, with a further intake scheduled for this month, the AMRC Training Centre is confident that apprentice numbers will be up by 60% or more at the start of the training year.

Numbers will rise even higher with further intakes planned for the new year to meet the needs of employers and to cater for young people who want to switch to more practical studies, while also earning a wage after discovering an A-Level course at school or college isn't for them.

The growth in numbers at the AMRC Training Centre won't stop there, now that the Centre has begun offering Foundation Degrees leading to University studies, combined with Higher Apprenticeships covering subjects such as manufacturing, maintenance, business improvement and inspection and testing.

Local companies will be supporting at least 20 existing apprentices and newcomers with A-levels who will be learning skills that could lead on to supervisory and management roles with their employers and laying the foundations for degree level studies and, possibly, research.

Both groups will be starting out on foundation degrees, including a degree in Mechanical Manufacturing, which is unique to the Training Centre. The newcomers with A-Levels will also receive 25 weeks of training in the practical skills the existing apprentices have already acquires.

Kerry Featherstone, head of operations at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "The growth in our numbers is really encouraging and important for an advanced manufacturing sector that desperately needs young recruits with high level skills to fill the gaps that are being created by retirement.

"Companies are keen to recruit and we hope that our new recruits will spread the message that advanced manufacturing offers a secure, well paid career, with opportunities to gain degree level qualifications and above, without ending up in debt.

"We also want to get the message across that opportunities in small companies aren’t any less than those in large organisations and they can be greater. Smaller firms often offer staff the chance to use a broader range of skills, increased potential for promotion and, even, global travel."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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