Monday, October 24, 2016

News: AMRC degree smashes launch recruitment target

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A pioneering foundation degree in manufacturing technology from the University of Sheffield and its AMRC Training Centre has smashed its recruitment target as it welcomed its first students.

The £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham 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, Alcoa and Outokumpu to smaller, local firms such as Cutting & Wear and Technicut.

The two year, part time programme is designed to ensure bright, young people, who opt to start work straight from school, don't miss out on a University qualification.

The Foundation Degree, which can be delivered as part of a Higher Apprenticeship, also aims to provide manufacturing industry with the higher skilled employees it desperately needs and could lead to a BEng degree after a further year of part time study.

The AMRC Training Centre had been set the target of recruiting five students to the first year of the course. However, the course proved so popular with trainees and companies spread across South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire that 20 students signed up for the first year and a further four have already registered for next year.

Students range in age from 18 to 30, with most at the younger end. Two thirds of the students gained manufacturing qualifications at the AMRC Training Centre, while three of the students have been working in industry for some years.

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The course is delivered using a blend of face to face learning - lectures, seminars and tutorials - with online and self-paced learning and support to enable the students to combine their studies while in full time employment. The programme has been designed in partnership with academic staff and employers to ensure students can graduate equipped to meet the current and future needs of the advanced manufacturing sector. 

Kerry Featherstone, head of training at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "This Foundation Degree broadens access to the University. It gives young people who never thought of studying for a degree, or were put off by the prospect of running up debts to fund their studies, an opportunity to gain undergraduate and, maybe, post graduate qualifications while being fully employed and earning a wage.

"Manufacturers in our region and the rest of the UK desperately need people with a combination of vocational and academic skills if they are to compete internationally and this degree will bridge that gap."

Students and employers attending the welcome event at the AMRC Training Centre got the chance to meet course lecturers, who are all AMRC researchers, working with industry to develop practical solutions to improve manufacturing performance.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is going to be a very challenging and intense programme.

"The AMRC Training Centre has developed a very strong academic and technical programme that responds to what employers tell us they need, while maintaining the standards you would expect of a Russell Group University.

"Anyone who successfully completes this course and goes on to secure a BEng while continuing to hold down a challenging job in manufacturing will have thoroughly deserved their success and we are determined to provide them with the support they need."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC


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