AMRC apprentices to take show on the road thanks to generous donation by First Group plc

03 May 2016

(From l-r) top row, AMRC staff Shane and Jamie Smith with AMRC Training Centre operations manager, Kerry Featherstone. Bottom row, First Bus Sheffield staff Workshop Manager John Harrison, Business Manager Paul Flanagan, Engineering Manager Alan Barstow with AMRC Trainer Gareth Wilkinson and apprentices Abbie Plumer and Sean Goodwin.

AMRC staff and apprentices welcome the bus donated by First Group staff. Goodwin.

First Group in Sheffield have generously donated a bus to the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre for apprentices to refurbish and use for engagement activities with the region's local schools.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) approached First Group looking for a bus that could be used as a project for their engineering apprentices to strip out, refit and restore to full working order as a mobile teaching and demonstration facility.

First Group donated the bus, which had been retired from their fleet in running condition, to the Training Centre free of charge; along with a full set of tyres kindly donated by Bridgestone, who provide tyres for the First Group fleet.

AMRC Training Centre Operations Manager, Kerry Featherstone, said: "The bus will be fantastic hands-on experience for the Training Centre's maintenance and mechanical engineering apprentices.

"Supported by First Group technicians assisting with parts and manuals, they will be refurbishing the bus so it will once again be running in top condition."

The AMRC Training Centre has grand plans for the bus, once the apprentices have refurbished the bus, it will be tested to ensure its road-worthiness and put back into service.

AMRC apprentices Sean Goodwin of Nikken and Abbie Plumer of Symphony Group PLC with AMRC Trainer Gareth Wilkinson and their new bus.

The apprentices will use the bus to further their work as ambassadors for studying subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They will fit the bus out with displays, demonstrations and use the bus to show local children for open days and events at the AMRC Training Centre.

Alan Barstow, engineering manager for First Bus Sheffield, visited the AMRC with colleagues to hand over the bus to the apprentices. He said: "We were happy to donate a bus that would have usually gone on to be scrapped, so a programme like this can ensure the apprentices get great experience refurbishing the bus.

"I am extremely proud that First Bus Sheffield can be part of what is happening here at the AMRC and the AMRC Training Centre, as they are both adding real value to the Sheffield City Region."

The new bus will complement MANTRA, the AMRC's 14m HGV trailer packed with the latest state of the art machinery and simulators for use at educational STEM events across the country.

Assisted by AMRC apprentices, MANTRA recently attended MACH 2016, the national manufacturing technologies conference. Over five days, some of the thousands of aspiring young engineers attending the learning and development zone were able to get hands-on experience with the AMRC's cutting-edge technologies.

However the 14m lorry can be too big or heavy to visit smaller local schools. So the new bus will allow the apprentices to take their work out on the road to more local school children.

Co-founder of the AMRC, Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, said: "The bus will contain a range of AMRC and Nuclear AMRC technologies, demonstrations of work completed by the apprentices and show life as an apprentice at the AMRC Training Centre.

"The hope is that the demonstrations will encourage young people to consider engineering as a career and assist the wider population to understand the work, the impact of the AMRC."

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