A new model for developing skills in advanced manufacture

AMRC apprentice and machinery

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is a world-class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

The expertise of the team, led by Research Director Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, was recognised by a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2007. The AMRC has also been named Boeing Supply Chain Company of the Year, the first time such an award has been given to a UK company.

The AMRC grew out of an initiative within the University's Faculty of Engineering, which put postgraduate engineering students into local supply chain companies to work on live manufacturing challenges. This developed into a collaborative vision of leading researchers working with businesses and major international companies to become more efficient, sustainable and competitive. Over the past decade the AMRC has gone from strength to strength.

It employs 250 highly qualified researchers and engineers, and brings together over 70 partner companies supporting aerospace and high-value manufacturing, and over 35 partner companies involved in the manufacturing required to support the development of civil nuclear energy plants.

The AMRC family now includes the Nuclear AMRC, a Knowledge Transfer Centre and a Training Centre, which will provide those who aspire to work in advanced manufacture with both practical and academic skills. It will offer a range of opportunities – from apprenticeships to doctorates, MBAs and continuing professional development. The AMRC Training Centre aims to take on 250 people, aged 16 and upwards, each year for advanced apprenticeships lasting three or four years, with as many as 400 on site once the programme is fully underway.

Professor Ridgway believes this latest AMRC development is fundamental to the continued regeneration of the local area and beyond. "The AMRC Training Centre is essential to our vision of bringing together research and world- class engineering of the kind carried out at the University of Sheffield," he said. "As well as the latest equipment and facilities, companies need staff who understand the new context and who have worked alongside engineers with the very latest understanding. The AMRC Training Centre will provide exactly that – real opportunities for young people to work but also learn the latest in engineering, even potentially taking a degree part-time or beyond that. Our apprentices will be gaining experience at the cutting edge of manufacturing technology."