AMRC's award-winning training centre secures vote of confidence from government

  • AMRC training centre will become a key part of UK’s new National College for Advanced Manufacturing
  • Announcement made during visit by Business Secretary Vince Cable today (11 December 2014)

Plans for a National College for Advanced Manufacturing in Sheffield, set to drive young talent into high-skilled engineering roles, was announced today (Thursday December 11) by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

AMRC apprenticesMr Cable unveiled plans for the new centre, with headquarters at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing’s award-winning training centre in South Yorkshire and in Coventry.

The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the AMRC Training Centre’s facilities today, when he also revealed the centre has secured National College status.

He said: "Economic growth is underpinned by technological innovation, a strong manufacturing sector and scientific excellence. The UK can no longer afford to lag behind countries like France and Germany, which have invested heavily in technical skills at the highest level for generations.

“This new facility puts Sheffield and its surrounding area at the heart our nationwide drive to create the high-wage, high-skilled jobs of the future. It will give young people the opportunity to access the best industry-led training as well as help local firms attract the talent they need to grow their business."

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the manufacturers' organisation, the EEF, are to work with government to agree the detailed organisational structure for National College of Advanced Manufacturing.

Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: "I am delighted that the new High Value Manufacturing training initiative builds on the success of the Catapult and look forward to working with the other centres to make this a great success."

Alison Bettac, the centre's director of Training, added: "We are grateful to Mr Cable for this vote of confidence in our strategy of creating employer led training that enables young people who would never have considered going to university to gain a job, practical skills and a potential route into higher education.

"It is a massive opportunity for us to increase our presence in new sectors and offer them the level of quality and provision we already offer to the aerospace, nuclear, oil, gas and other advanced manufacturing sectors."

Dick Elsy, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said the continuing growth of high value manufacturing depended on developing new breakthrough technologies and that required an increasing number of people with the right skills.

"The High Value Manufacturing Catapult is at the forefront of the development of new manufacturing technologies and as such, we are extremely well-placed to develop and deliver the kind of skills training that meets current and future industry demand,” he added.

The AMRC Training Centre has plans to expand into new areas, including process control engineering, polymers, automation and robotics for food manufacturing and electronics and instrument control which supports the strategic partnership with the new HS2 railway engineering college being set up in Doncaster.

The centre also hopes to run short courses for up to 650 people a year, including Continuing Professional Development courses, and to introduce higher education courses ranging from foundation to Masters degrees.

News that the AMRC Training Centre has gained National College Status comes less than two months after HRH the Duke of York officially opened the AMRC Training Centre and weeks after it won The Times Higher Education’s Outreach Award.

The honour was presented to the centre for creating a blueprint for bridging the manufacturing skills gap and promoting social mobility.

Additional information

The AMRC Training Centre

The University of Sheffield's pioneering apprenticeship training centre has been established to provide the next generation of world leading engineers.
The ground breaking 5,500 sq m centre was built with support from the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund and is based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, within the Sheffield and Rotherham Enterprise Zone, close to the AMRC with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC.

It aims to create knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs by equipping highly skilled workers who will go on to regenerate the UK’s manufacturing industry.

The Centre opened its doors for the first class of 150 advanced apprentices in January. Numbers have since risen to 300.

Apprentices, aged from 16, come from a wide range of manufacturers with operations in the Sheffield city region, including Tata Steel, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, AESSEAL, MTL Group and Newburgh Engineering, in addition to the AMRC group itself.

The Centre has links with both Sheffield universities, enabling apprentices to go on to study for higher-level qualifications up to doctorate and MBA level, and offers a range of courses for continuing professional development.

The National College of Advanced Manufacturing

The National College of Advanced Manufacturing will be established as a network of hubs that link innovation to training provision. It will deliver nationally by identifying and working with the best established providers and engaging with them as spokes of the network.

The National College will be based on autonomous institutions working together under the umbrella of a common National College.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult and EEF have agreed to work together with Government to agree the detailed organisational structure for the National College of Advanced Manufacturing.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult is at the forefront of the development of new manufacturing technologies. The Government intends to work with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and with the EEF to establish a National College of Advanced Manufacturing which will identify the needs of industry and develop training provision to meet those needs.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For more information please contact: 

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046