Wednesday, July 12, 2017

News: Work to do at AMRC Training Centre

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The AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham is meeting the needs of local engineering businesses but is not yet meeting Government standards. Ofsted has judged that the centre "requires improvement."

The AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) where the focus is 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.

Since taking on its first 140 apprentices in autumn 2013, the centre has grown rapidly into an award-winning centre of excellence.

Ofsted inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. It has recently published its findings of an inspection of the University's training centre in May 2017.

The report praised the state of the art facilities and the progress of apprentices, as well as the clear vision and strategy of the senior leaders at the university to deliver apprenticeships to meet the local and regional needs of the Sheffield city region and engineering employers.

However, the report noted that improvement is required in a number of areas. It said that governors do not provide sufficient challenge or hold senior managers to account and that managers do not use data well enough to evaluate the quality of learning and apprentices' progress. It added that "managers' evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the provision is not sufficiently self-critical and, therefore, does not result in rapid enough improvement."

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Managers from the centre report to an industry board that advises on the curriculum, and also to the university's learning and teaching board. Senior leaders have recognised that there is a need for a more formal board of governors and have very recently established a new group with clear terms of reference.

Having an industry board results in the curriculum meeting the local and regional priorities and providing good progression opportunities to degrees for apprentices.

Ofsted found that apprentices and employers would recommend the AMRC Training Centre.

The report went on to say that too many apprentices leave their programme early and do not complete their apprenticeships and that the proportion of apprentices who successfully complete their programme within the planned time is too low.

Improvements are being made after the report showed that too many apprentices struggled with the transition from the centre-based training early in the programme to their employer-based training.

A statement from the AMRC Training Centre said: "The AMRC Training Centre was inspected for the first time in May 2017. Ofsted found that 91 per cent of our apprentices would recommend the AMRC Training Centre and 100 per cent of our employers would do the same.

"Ofsted found that the apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre benefit from high quality resources and facilities. Inspectors said that the apprentices demonstrate self-confidence, take pride in their work and acquire skills and knowledge that enable them to develop academically and fulfil the needs of their employers.

"Inspectors said the University of Sheffield has a clear vision and strategy to deliver apprenticeships to meet the local and regional needs of our engineering employers.

"We look forward to working with OFSTED to improve our performance levels on other areas."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC Training Centre


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