The AMRC Training Centre, supported by the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund, provides training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally. As well as apprenticeships, it links with both Sheffield universities for higher-level education up to doctorate and MBA level, and offers a range of courses for continuing professional development.
It is based in a new 5500sq m building alongside the AMRC with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, within the Sheffield/Rotherham Enterprise Zone. The building opened its doors in January for the first class of 150 advanced apprentices.
The apprentices come from a wide range of manufacturers with operations in the Sheffield city region, including Tata Steel, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, AES Seal, MTL Group and Newburgh Engineering, and from the AMRC group itself.
Aged from 16 up, the apprentices are spending a year learning fundamental skills at the Training Centre before completing their apprenticeships with their employers. The apprentices started their training in October, spending their first term in dedicated training workshops on the AMRC campus while the final touches were put to the Training Centre itself.
Alison Bettac, AMRC director of training, said: “The AMRC Training Centre offers a unique opportunity for young people to learn vital industry skills with the very best manufacturers in the region and the world. But they do this within the context of the University of Sheffield AMRC, which means they are also within a world-leading educational environment which encourages their potential and offers them new routes into higher education. They are able to take advantage of opportunities for part-time study, which mean they can if they wish also progress to degrees and higher-level qualifications, while still gaining experience with their employer and earning as they learn.
‘The benefits work both ways. Throughout this experience, employers are also drawing on the developing skills of a highly trained workforce who have been exposed to the very best in high-value manufacturing – skills which are vital to their own business success. And as a University, we are developing the expertise of the next generation of manufacturing who are so essential to the region’s SMEs and our economic strength.’
To launch the new centre, over 200 local employers joined an employers open day on 23 January. The event featured presentations from industry figures including Hamid Mughal, global vice president of manufacturing for Rolls-Royce, Tim Wheeler, industrial engagement manager for Boeing, and James Selka, production director at AES Seal, as well as some of the centre’s apprentices. Delegates were also addressed by local growth minister Kris Hopkins MP; the Mayor of Rotherham, John Foden; and Paul White, acting vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield.