AMRC Training Centre apprentices learning basic work bench skills.

University of Sheffield apprenticeship up for THE award

An advanced apprenticeship scheme developed by the University of Sheffield has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education (THE) Award.

The scheme is the brainchild of the new Training Centre, opened earlier this year by the university’s 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 international engineering firms through to local businesses in the high-tech supply-chain.

Thanks to the progression route developed by the centre and university, apprentices completing the AMRC programme can go on to study at undergraduate and doctoral level and eventually secure an MBA.

“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,” says Professor Keith Ridgway, co-founder of the AMRC. “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.”

The advanced apprenticeship is one of three University of Sheffield initiatives to be shortlisted for THE Awards.

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