Thursday, July 17, 2014

News: AMRC advances on to higher apprenticeships


The AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham will commence delivery of higher apprenticeships in mechanical engineering from this autumn.

Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

Backed by a £9.2m government grant and funding from companies, the state of the art centre opened on the Waverley site last year. The focus is on 250 students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies.

Building on the success of the advanced apprenticeship programme, the level 4 higher apprenticeship still combines on-the-job and off-the-job training, but will also include a foundation degree accredited by the University of Sheffield. This will offer a work based route into professions which have traditionally been the preserve of graduates.

Kerry Featherstone, head of operations at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "A higher apprenticeship is a way for your business to fill its requirement for higher–level skills by tailoring the learning to your workplace. As with the advanced apprenticeship programme, the training team will ensure your apprentice develops the knowledge and occupational competencies to meet the unique needs of your business."

The centre, which will take on another batch of engineering and business admin apprentices in September, was recently praised by Rolls-Royce's director of global manufacturing. Speaking at a national summit for apprentices hosted on the AMP, Dr Hamid Mughal said: "In years ahead, long after people like me have retired, I think when people look back at the AMRC and say "What has the AMRC done?" – apart from all the technologies and infrastructure change – I think people will remember the AMRC for creating world-class engineers.

"If I was 16 years old and I was given a hundred choices for careers, I would choose here every time. You cannot ask for a better environment for tomorrow's engineers to create the complex, customer-oriented values and solutions for industry, the economy and for the UK than this environment."

The message is also being delivered to Parliament. AMRC apprentice, Russell Fox, was recently invited along with representatives from the centre to meet with local MPs in Westminster to talk about issues of concern around education, the economy and the needs of local people.

Russell, who is sponsored by Eldon Tools, said: "We discussed about apprentices having access to further education without having to take out loans and get into massive amounts of debt. By me attending the event, I believe that it was beneficial for myself and the MPs to have the opportunity to discuss the future of apprentices and higher education.

"I also showed my concern and got the point across that apprentices aren't the easy way out of education, they are just a different style. In fact apprentices develop the practical and communication skills that some colleges fail to deliver."

AMRC Training Centre

Images: AMRC


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