Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revisits the AMRC Training Centre

09 March 2016

Footballing legend Sir Alex Ferguson has returned to see the work being done by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing's Training Centre and urged its young apprentices to seize the opportunities they are being offered.

Sir Alex, who was manager of Manchester United Football Club for 26 years, was speaking after touring the Training Centre, which was established in response to industry needs and has become a centre of excellence for engineering and manufacturing training.

Sir Alex with apprentices, Adam Seed, Danny Swann and Jabir Jan and the memento of his visit, a miniature cannon created by AMRC apprentices on the centre's CNC machines.

The man who started out as an apprentice tool maker in Glasgow and went on to steer Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles, launched construction of the Training Centre during a visit to the AMRC in 2013.

During his last visit, Sir Alex urged businesses to show their confidence in young people by recruiting them as apprentices, adding that he would love to return to see the Training Centre when it was completed.

Fulfilling that aim, he told the apprentices, Training Centre staff and guests from industry: "Until recently there were no opportunities for apprenticeships, but I know from my own experience how valuable they are, that's why I am so impressed with the venture here."

Sir Alex told the apprentices that he knows the value of grasping life changing opportunities: "The centre is unbelievably impressive, the opportunities you have here are fantastic and you should seize them, to improve and build your skills wherever possible.

"What you will learn here, the valuable life skills along with the qualifications you will gain will hold you in good stead for the future."

Sir Alex was taken around the 5,500 sq m Centre by some of the apprentices, all of whom are in paid employment with advanced manufacturing companies ranging from large, blue chip organisations to micro businesses.

Sir Alex tries his hand at some manual machining tasks on his tour of the AMRC Training Centre. 

The apprentices also presented Sir Alex with a memento of his visit - a miniature cannon which they made, using the CNC machine tool skills they have learnt at the Centre.

AMRC Training Centre Director, Kerry Featherstone, said: "We were delighted when Sir Alex asked if he could come back and see around the completed Centre.

"When he was last here, Sir Alex spoke movingly about how important an apprenticeship had been to him and how important it was for businesses to have new generations of skilled workers.

"Under his leadership, Manchester United developed a long standing tradition of guiding youngsters through their youth ranks into the first team, and on to international honours. I'm sure his words will inspire our apprentices to strive for similar success in their careers."

During his visit, Six Alex signed a number of items of Manchester United memorabilia, which will be raffled and auctioned as part of the AMRC Training Centre apprentices' support for the Master Cutler's Challenge, one of the largest charity fundraising events held in the Sheffield region.

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