Plans for a National College for Advanced Manufacturing in Sheffield, set to drive young talent into high-skilled engineering roles, was announced today (Thursday December 11) by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Mr Cable unveiled plans for the new centre, with headquarters at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing’s award-winning training centre at Waverley and in Coventry.
The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the AMRC Training Centre’s facilities today, when he also revealed the centre has secured National College status.
He said: “Economic growth is underpinned by technological innovation, a strong manufacturing sector and scientific excellence. The UK can no longer afford to lag behind countries like France and Germany, which have invested heavily in technical skills at the highest level for generations.
“This new facility puts Sheffield and its surrounding area at the heart our nationwide drive to create the high-wage, high-skilled jobs of the future. It will give young people the opportunity to access the best industry-led training as well as help local firms attract the talent they need to grow their business.”
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, are to work with government to agree the detailed organisational structure for National College of Advanced Manufacturing.
Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: “I am delighted that the new High Value Manufacturing training initiative builds on the success of the Catapult and look forward to working with the other centres to make this a great success.”
Alison Bettac, the centre’s director of Training, added: “We are grateful to Mr Cable for this vote of confidence in our strategy of creating employer led training that enables young people who would never have considered going to university to gain a job, practical skills and a potential route into higher education.
“It is a massive opportunity for us to increase our presence in new sectors and offer them the level of quality and provision we already offer to the aerospace, nuclear, oil, gas and other advanced manufacturing sectors.”
The AMRC training centre opened in January 2014 for its first class of 150 advanced apprentices. It aims to create knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs by equipping highly skilled workers who will go on to regenerate the UK’s manufacturing industry.
Apprentices, aged from 16, come from a wide range of manufacturers with operations in the Sheffield city region, including Tata Steel, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, AESSEAL, MTL Group and Newburgh Engineering, in addition to the AMRC group itself. The Centre has links with both Sheffield universities, enabling apprentices to go on to study for higher-level qualifications up to doctorate and MBA level, and offers a range of courses for continuing professional development.
The centre now has plans for further expansion, including process control engineering, polymers, automation and robotics for food manufacturing and electronics and instrument control which supports the strategic partnership with the new HS2 railway engineering college being set up in Doncaster.
The centre also hopes to run short courses for up to 650 people a year, including Continuing Professional Development courses, and to introduce higher education courses ranging from foundation to Masters degrees.