New generation of leaders witness the future of manufacturing at the AMRC

25 September 2018

A diverse group of international leaders visited the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to see first-hand how the result of inspired leadership, a university willing to break the mould and old fashioned northern grit has turned a region in industrial decline, into a world leader in advanced manufacturing.

Not-for-profit organisation Common Purpose organised the visit for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s International Leaders Programme, which included representatives from 17 countries working in diverse fields such as law, education, human rights, government or working as entrepreneurs.

Common Purpose aims to develop international leaders whose influence and ideas cross-boundaries to solve complex problems and drive change for cities through collaboration. It toured the UK with the group which was particularly interested in exploring engineering, higher education, the arts and culture and innovation which made visiting the AMRC a perfect fit for their fact-finding visit.

The AMRC specialises in carrying out world-leading research into advanced machining, manufacturing and materials, which is of practical use to industry. Its R&D capabilities help manufacturers to innovate and win work and its award-winning AMRC Training Centre provides employed-status apprenticeships for young people from the local area to gain engineering qualifications up to post-graduate level.

It is a model that is being exported world-wide due to its reputation for being able to equip the UK's high-value manufacturers for success in challenging global markets and lead a as centre for innovation and inward investment.

Common Purpose Operations Director Sara Clarkson, said: “At Common Purpose our programmes are all about leaders crossing boundaries – whether those are sector, generational or geographical boundaries.  We’re about experiential leadership learning, with diverse peers, so this was a great opportunity to get a behind the scenes view of AMRC.  The participants really enjoyed the insights and it was privilege to be able to work with them and showcase Sheffield.”

Economist and Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister, Shamika Ravi, said the she particularly enjoyed her visit to the AMRC. “India has made a significant attempt to reinvigorate manufacturing through 'Make In India' mission. The AMRC model of bringing cutting edge university research to high-end manufacturing shop floor is truly refreshing.

“Given the global network of manufacturing firms involved, it is also remarkable that AMRC includes training and skilling of local youth in the process. This makes the unique AMRC model significantly inclusive. Given the de-globalisation environment across countries, this will perhaps emerge as model of the future.”

Host for the day and Head of Automotive Strategy at the AMRC, Ben Kitcher said: “This visit gave us a chance to how we impact industry to a hugely diverse group representing countries from around the world.

“I was left in no doubt the individuals visiting have been identified as future leaders; their knowledge, ability to distinguish impressive technology from real social and economic impact showed me that they truly understood our purpose even after just two hours with us.

“I’m proud that we have had the opportunity to show off our work and the wider impact it has for inward investment and opportunities in a region like Sheffield. Hopefully the AMRC has inspired the leaders to look into creating impact through advanced manufacturing.”

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