AMRC Training Centre launches skills for the future

The new AMRC Training Centre has officially launched with a high-profile skills conference.

The Developing the skills for growth event, held at the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre on 14 September, featured a keynote address from Nick Clegg MP as well as sessions led by AMRC training director Alison Bettac and head of training Kerry Featherstone.

The AMRC Training Centre is a major new venture for the University of Sheffield AMRC. It will build on the technical expertise of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC, to help train the skilled engineers that manufacturing businesses need to compete in global high-value markets such as aerospace and power generation.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to develop a world-class hub that will deliver the right skills within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors,” says Bettac. “Employers demand high-quality learning frameworks to help them compete globally. This is their opportunity to help build that provision, as the delivery through the Training Centre will be very much employer-led.”

The AMRC Training Centre is part-funded by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, and is scheduled to open in Autumn 2013.

Speaking at the launch, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg MP said: “We need to encourage youngsters to get the skills for the industries we excel at in this region, in advanced manufacturing and the nuclear supply chain. This is why we hope this new initative from the AMRC, which is a collaborative effort, will really become an absolute first rate way of getting young people trained with the skills they need to get the right jobs for the future.

“What the University of Sheffield has been brilliant at, and we can see it here at the AMRC, is showing that an academic qualification isn’t a theoretical thing, it’s something you turn into practice, something you apply in the real world and translate into objects and products you can touch.”

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “What we are doing together to regenerate our region and to regenerate UK manufacturing is wasted if our research and equipment is not matched by skilled people. We need young people ready to accept the jobs we create and to take the UK forward.

“Together with colleagues from Rolls-Royce and Boeing, as well as with over 70 companies in the engineering supply chain, our partnership has shown that this region is a world-class hub for advanced manufacturing. We are not just creating knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs. We are creating the skilled workers at all levels who will secure this for the future. This is the crucial next step in the wonderful work here at the AMRC and together as we make a step change in advanced manufacture.”

The Training Centre will be based in a new 5,500 sq m facility next to the AMRC campus on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. It will provide tailored courses of practical and academic skills, from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level, plus continuing professional development. About 250 people will enter each year for advanced apprentice training, with support from their employers. It will primarily serve businesses with operations in the region – including Rolls-Royce, which is building up to three new factories on the Park.

The AMRC Training Centre will link with both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University for higher-level education, and with the new Sheffield University Technical College (UTC), to provide a full progression in engineering training for the first time in the region.

The Developing the skills for growth event also marked the launch of the National Skills Academy Nuclear Manufacturing, a new UK centre of expertise based at the Nuclear AMRC.

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