Pioneering engineering apprenticeship programme shortlisted for top award

A pioneering advanced apprenticeships scheme, developed by the University of Sheffield, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Award.

The scheme is the brainchild of the new Training Centre, opened earlier this year by the Universitys Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC), and has been shortlisted for the THE Widening Participation Initiative of the Year Award.

Around 230 apprentices are currently training at the centre with a further 80 due to join them next month.

The apprentices are employed by advanced manufacturing companies, keen to recruit young people with the high-quality training in the practical and academic skills that they need to compete globally.

Companies working with the University range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and TATA to local businesses in the high-tech supply-chain.

Thanks to the innovative progression route developed by the Training Centre and the University, apprentices completing the AMRC programme could go on to study at undergraduate and doctoral level and eventually secure an MBA.

Professor Keith Ridgway, co-founder of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, said: “The need for high-quality vocational education and skills is fundamental to the ability of our region and of the UK to be internationally competitive in manufacturing and to rebalance our economy.

“Our partner companies at the AMRC told us they needed something different to what was already available in either further or higher education, so we designed a new approach to advanced technical education with them.

“What we have here is true access – a programme in which our apprentices are already employed and yet have the ability to train to the highest standard in an internationally-leading research centre, fully embedded in an advanced manufacturing culture. They also have access to progression into higher education, with the ability to graduate with an excellent degree, industrial experience and no debt.”

Both the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, and Rolls-Royces Global Director of Manufacturing, Dr Hamid Mughal, recently praised the AMRC Training Centres Advanced Apprenticeship programme at the National Summit for Apprentices and Higher Vocation Education.

University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, said: “We are deeply proud of what the AMRC continues to achieve with industry. The people there are rethinking our whole approach to research and teaching as it relates to manufacturing, and their courage and vision is setting the standard nationally and internationally.”

The Advanced Apprenticeship is one of three University of Sheffield initiatives to be shortlisted for THE Awards.

The University has also been shortlisted in the Outstanding International Student Strategy, and Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers Awards.

Pioneering engineering apprenticeship programme shortlisted for top award

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