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Training centre to provide 250 apprenticeships every year

14 September 2012

A pioneering training centre which will see hundreds of paid apprenticeships provided to students has been unveiled by the Deputy Prime Minister at the University of Sheffield.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with an apprentice
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with an apprentice

The AMRC Training Centre, which is due to be completed in Autumn 2013 and will be part funded by a £9.2 million Regional Growth Fund grant, was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today (September 14) aiming to provide the next generation of engineers.

In the week that Vince Cable set out the Government’s vision for an industrial strategy, including innovation and investment, Mr Clegg revealed plans for the University’s latest landmark building and its plans for up to 250 students, aged from 16 upwards, to be taken on paid apprenticeships with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses.

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The Manufacturing Sector need to be proactive to rebalance the economy. High levels of skills are what will make the difference when we compete on a global basis in technology and leadership.

“What we are doing together to regenerate our region and to regenerate UK manufacturing is wasted if our research and equipment is not matched by skilled people. We need young people ready to accept the jobs we create and to take the UK forward.

“Together with colleagues from Rolls-Royce and Boeing, as well as with over 70 companies in the engineering supply chain, our partnership has shown that this region is a world-class hub for advanced manufacturing. We are not just creating knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs. We are creating the skilled workers at all levels who will secure this for the future. This is the crucial next step in the wonderful work here at the AMRC and together as we make a step change in advanced manufacture.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “This initiative today, and the work of everyone, the commitment of the University, the commitment of Sheffield, across all parties, all of us, to a manufacturing renaissance in South Yorkshire and Sheffield, has to be part of a bigger picture - turning the page of social attitudes which reflect the long term values.

“It's a collaboration which I hope will really become an absolutely first rate way of getting people trained up with skills for the jobs in the future.

“The University plays a crucial role in changing people's perceptions and leading the way. Sheffield University has been brilliant at it. Academic qualifications aren't a theoretical thing here, it's something you turn in to products. You can see it here at the AMRC. They are translated in to objects and products which you can see and feel, it's very important. What a lot of young people will be looking for is what happens to all their research once they are there, turning research into practical products.

“I'm incredibly honoured and immensely committed, personally and also as Deputy Prime Minister. If we set our sights high, and work together, the sky's the limit.”

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 and will build on the world renowned technical expertise housed in the 
Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC.

It will provide tailored courses of practical and academic skills, from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level, plus continuing professional development. About 250 people will enter each year for advanced apprentice training, with support from their employers. It will primarily serve businesses with operations in the region – including Rolls-Royce, which is building up to three new factories on the Park.

AMRC training director Alison Bettac said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to develop a world-class hub that will deliver the right skills within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors. Employers demand high-quality learning frameworks to help them compete globally. This is their opportunity to help build that provision, as the delivery through the Training Centre will be very much employer-led.

“This is an exciting time for the Sheffield City Region, with so much happening on the skills agenda, we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to ensure that everyone is on board and supporting the initiatives that will be rolled out over the next few months. It is our duty to ensure that Sheffield City Region continues to be the region of choice to attract investors and to retain and develop the talent that makes us so unique.”

The AMRC Training Centre will link with both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University for higher-level education, and with the new Sheffield University Technical College (UTC), to provide a full progression in engineering training for the first time in the region.

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