AMRC’s workforce resource helps Boeing reach new heights

05 December 2022

The president of Boeing for the UK, Ireland and Nordic region reaffirmed the importance of collaboration after she visited the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) - praising the organisation for its growth in creating a local manufacturing ecosystem, providing the aerospace giant with a future pipeline of highly-skilled talent. 

Maria Laine, who has three decades of experience at Boeing, toured the research centre’s South Yorkshire base, alongside its neighbouring University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre.

“It’s great to be back at the AMRC after visiting many years ago and it’s phenomenal to see how much it has grown and how an entire manufacturing ecosystem has developed around it,” said Maria. “It’s incredible to see the thriving facilities that are here, and we are very proud to be a part of it.”

Maria also stressed how the strategic and enduring partnership between Boeing and the AMRC was vital, adding: “It has also been an incredibly important source for developing a local, highly-skilled workforce.

“We’ve had about 30 apprentices coming through from the AMRC Training Centre and employed by Boeing - and we’re just about to launch another cohort. When we look at where we want to be located and where the Boeing company wants to grow, it’s important to have that ecosystem to tap into - and that’s what we’ve found with Sheffield.” 

Maria visited the research centre’s flagship facilities, including the apprentice shop floors at the AMRC Training Centre, the AMRC’s machining and composites capabilities, as well as its iconic Factory 2050 - where digital meets manufacturing.

The AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult cluster of innovation centres, prides itself on bridging the gap between translational research and developing new products and processes and is keen to support what Maria describes as a ‘globally competitive aerospace industry’. 

“Having the opportunity to prototype, develop, experience and do the research and development collaboration with partners such as the ones we have here in Sheffield, through the AMRC, is a powerful differentiator and one we’re very proud of,” she said. 

“We have a long history here, more than 20 years of great work, culminating again at the Boeing Sheffield factory, and we are now looking to the next generation of technology and digital engineering methods, assessing not only what we produce but how we produce it.”

In October 2018, Boeing opened a production facility in Sheffield – its first manufacturing site in Europe. The £40 million, 6,200-square-metre facility is located on Sheffield Business Park and manufactures components for trailing edge actuator systems for 737 aircraft. All suppliers to the factory are based within 100 miles of Sheffield. 

Boeing Sheffield employs 75 people and more than 25 machining operatives have been trained there in conjunction with its training partner, the AMRC. Following their first year in the training centre, the apprentices spend years two and three of the programme in the Boeing Sheffield facility.

Steve Foxley, CEO at the AMRC, said the organisation thrives on the collaboration opportunities that Boeing provides.

“It was fantastic to have Maria come over to visit our AMRC facilities,” he added. “Collaboration opportunities of any size are very important to us and are a key foundation to our success. 

“We look forward to forging new research collaborations with Boeing in the future and playing our part in supporting a key aerospace partner.”

Anne Griggs, head of business development and contracts at the AMRC Training Centre, said: “It was great to have the opportunity to give Maria a tour of the training centre and show her the facilities we have to offer our apprentices. 

“We are very grateful that global businesses like Boeing choose us to help train up their apprentices and prepare them for work within industry.”  

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