Education Secretary Gavin Williamson visits world-leading research centre

Today (20 August) Education Secretary Gavin Williamson visited the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) where cutting edge technology is being used to drive innovations in manufacturing as well as offering training and apprenticeships in a range of crucial fields.

Since his appointment, Mr Williamson has made clear that technical education and training has played second fiddle to traditional academic options for too long, and as the first Education Secretary to personally take charge of this brief, he will make sure it is a priority for this Government.

On the visit the Education Secretary took a tour of the AMRC, which is based in Sheffield, including Factory 2050, a state of the art facility that sees partners like Boeing and McLaren Automotive, as well as smaller local employers using advanced technologies like robotics and virtual reality to develop innovative manufacturing techniques.

The centre also provides high-quality apprenticeship training and higher education in engineering and manufacturing designed to deliver the skills top firms like Boeing need to compete globally.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said:

It is absolutely vital that we continue to grow the nations’ skills particularly in key areas like science, technology, engineering and maths so we have a workforce that is fit for the future. I am focused on making sure this is a priority area for this Government.

I’ve been hugely impressed by what I have seen here today at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. What they are doing here at is a brilliant example of how one of our top universities is collaborating with global firms like Boeing as well as smaller employers to boost skills and jobs across the region.

I would like to see more collaborations like this across the country.

On the visit Mr Williamson met with University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre apprentices who work in local companies and Boeing’s European production facility in Sheffield, seeing first-hand how their training is giving them the skills they need to forge great careers in the region.

He also tried out some of the impressive technologies on show at the AMRC, including augmented and virtual reality simulations, and learned about a project to help small and medium enterprises by retrofitting them with low-cost digital technologies.

Boeing opened its production facility in Sheffield in 2018 – the company’s first manufacturing site in Europe. The £40 million, 6,200-square-metre facility, employs 70 people, more than 30 of which are apprentices. It offers high quality apprenticeship opportunities through the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre in machining and technical support including at advanced, higher, degree and postgraduate levels apprenticeships.

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