New Education Secretary visits University of Sheffield's world-leading research centre
The Education Secretary visited Sheffield University’s world-leading AMRC to see how new technology is being used to drive innovations in manufacturing.
Gavin Williamson MP, who was appointed Secretary of State for Education on July 24, met with apprentices from the AMRC training centre yesterday to discover first hand how high-quality technical training is being used to help boost skills and jobs in sectors such as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
During his tour Mr Williamson – who has vowed to put technical education on a par with academic qualifications – also visited Factory 2050, a state-of-the-art facility in which global businesses like Boeing and McLaren Automotive, as well as smaller employers, are using advanced technologies like robotics and virtual reality to develop innovative manufacturing techniques.
The Education Secretary praised the AMRC, highlighting the centre as a ‘brilliant example’ of how a leading university can work collaboratively with industry to boost skills and jobs.
“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,” Mr Williamson said. “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.”
Mr Williamson also tried out augmented and virtual reality simulations, which are being used at the AMRC to train workers and capture data, and joined a discussion with representatives from Sheffield’s growing digital sector to discuss the skills needed to ensure it continues to flourish in the future.
Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We were delighted to show the Education Secretary how our outstanding research translates into world class manufacturing capabilities and how we are working with our industrial and regional partners to develop the skills that businesses need.
“We were particularly pleased to show the full breadth of what we have to offer - including apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships and undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses - and how they all contribute to an evolving education ecosystem.”
Chris Greaves, Head of the Integrated Manufacturing Group at the University of Sheffield AMRC, added: “To invest more heavily in apprenticeships - to get the right skill sets into manufacturing - is not only important to us and the region but it’s very important to the UK economy and manufacturing as a whole.”