My recent visit to the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre established with Boeing, demonstrated how training schemes focused on advanced and higher level engineering apprenticeships, come with much greater levels of employer engagement, helping ensure their needs are met while providing young people with the foundation for rewarding careers in some of the world’s most innovative industries.
This month, I was delighted to visit the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) established with Boeing in 2001. It is a world-class centre for advanced machining and materials research in partnership with manufacturers, both large and small.
I was particularly interested in the recent addition of the AMRC Training Centre which opened its doors for the first time in October 2013 to complement the AMRC R&D facility
Recognising training in the practical and academic skills that high value manufacturing needs to compete globally is essential, the UK government invested heavily in the training centre.
It is an amazing place, with state of the art machinery and technology, teaching rooms and open learning areas for over 100 apprentices.
Indeed, the UK is experiencing a renaissance in apprenticeships. The Engineering Employers Federation reports that in engineering and manufacturing technologies, new starts in 2012/13 reached over 66,000, which was 13% of all new apprentice starts.
It is a very different picture to Australia. The ACIL Allen Consulting 2014 Report to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency on Engineering Apprentices found that while commencements in engineering trades have risen by 20 per cent over the period from 2005 to 2012, the growth was lower than for trade occupations in general.
Schemes such as Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre, that focus on advanced and higher level engineering apprenticeships, come with much greater levels of employer engagement, helping ensure their needs are met while providing young people with the foundation for rewarding careers in some of the world’s most innovative industries.