Ferguson meets engineers of tomorrow20 February 2013
Legendary Manchester United Football Club manager Sir Alex Ferguson visited the AMRC with Boeing to meet the engineers of the future and launch construction of the new AMRC Training Centre.
The AMRC Training Centre aims to create knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs by equipping highly skilled workers who will help regenerate the region's and the UK's manufacturing industry.
Ferguson, an apprentice tool maker in Glasgow before turning professional as a footballer, spoke to more than 200 staff and apprentices about his experiences, before signing items which will be buried in a time capsule.
"What we need is businesses to have confidence in young people," said Sir Alex. "Manchester United is the best example of this. We believe in young people and it's amazing how they can surprise you.
"My apprenticeship was a fantastic part of my life. I always knew I had something specialist to go back to if football didn't go well.
"Apprenticeships give you a work force, a regeneration of people coming through. We need opportunities for apprenticeships to give young people chances to get success. I'm delighted to be here and I applaud that."
During his visit, Ferguson toured the AMRC with Boeing and met with current AMRC apprentices and young technicians and engineers.
The AMRC Training Centre, which is due to open in autumn 2013, is part-funded by the Regional Growth Fund (£12.5 million) and the European Regional Development Fund (£5 million). It will provide up to 250 students ayear, aged from 16 upwards, the chance to be taken on as paid apprentices, and offer opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses.
The centre will be based in a new 5,500 sq m building located on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe. The AMRC Training Centre is a major new venture for the University of Sheffield, and will build on the world-renowned technical expertise housed in the AMRC with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC.
The AMRC Training Centre will provide tailored courses of practical and academic skills, from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level, plus continuing professional development. The centre will primarily serve businesses with operations in the region - including Rolls-Royce, which is building up to three new factories on the Park.
AMRC director Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, said: "It's fantastic that Sir Alex could come and see the world leading work that's taking place here at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. He is a big supporter of apprenticeships and ensuring these vital skills stay within the UK."
Alison Bettac, director of the AMRC Training Centre, added: "Manchester United has a long standing tradition of guiding youngsters through their youth ranks into the first team, and on to international honours. In the same way we hope to provide young people in the South Yorkshire region with the skills to compete at the highest level. The AMRC Training Centre will provide a step change in advanced manufacturing and secure the future of the sector."