Thursday, March 10, 2016

News: Sir Alex Ferguson revisits AMRC Training Centre

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Football legend Sir Alex Ferguson returned to Rotherham this week to see the work being done by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing's Training Centre and urged its young apprentices to seize the opportunities they are being offered.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the £20.5m centre focuses on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Part of the The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, apprentices have 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 74-year-old Scot, who cemented Manchester United's place at the top table of world football under his 26 years at the club, first visited the centre of excellence in 2013 and urged businesses to show their confidence in young people by recruiting them as apprentices, adding that he would love to return to see the Training Centre when it was completed.

Fulfilling that aim, he told the apprentices, Training Centre staff and guests from industry: "Until recently there were no opportunities for apprenticeships, but I know from my own experience how valuable they are, that's why I am so impressed with the venture here."

Sir Alex told the apprentices that he knows the value of grasping life changing opportunities: "The centre is unbelievably impressive, the opportunities you have here are fantastic and you should seize them, to improve and build your skills wherever possible.

"What you will learn here, the valuable life skills along with the qualifications you will gain will hold you in good stead for the future."

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Despite a desperate desire to play football full time, Ferguson's father insisted that he first did an apprenticeship. Sir Alex completed his apprenticeship in toolmaking at the Remington-Rand typewriter factory close to his home in Govan, Glasgow, also picking up man-management and leadership skills as the apprentices' shop steward during a national strike in 1961.

Following a tour of the centre, apprentices presented Sir Alex with a memento of his visit – a miniature cannon which they made, using the CNC machine tool skills they have learnt at the centre.

Kerry Featherstone, director of the AMRC Training Centre, said: "We were delighted when Sir Alex asked if he could come back and see around the completed Centre.

"When he was last here, Sir Alex spoke movingly about how important an apprenticeship had been to him and how important it was for businesses to have new generations of skilled workers.

"Under his leadership, Manchester United developed a long standing tradition of guiding youngsters through their youth ranks into the first team, and on to international honours. I'm sure his words will inspire our apprentices to strive for similar success in their careers."

During his visit, Six Alex signed a number of items of Manchester United memorabilia, which will be raffled and auctioned as part of the AMRC Training Centre apprentices' support for the Master Cutler's Challenge, one of the largest charity fundraising events held in the Sheffield region.

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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