Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to the work of the pioneering Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, in particular its far-reaching plans to provide more apprenticeships in manufacturing, engineering and design technologies.
Speaking on a visit to the MTC on Ansty Park, Coventry marking National Apprenticeship Week, he said it was an amazing centre to inspire the engineers of the future.
“This extraordinary centre is developing skills for the future which is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future. It is also contributing to the re-industrialisation of our country, and I think it’s great that this renaissance is taking place right here in the West Midlands which was, of course, the manufacturing centre of the world,” he said.
The Prime Minister chose his visit to the MTC to announce a major extension to the Trailblazers apprenticeship programme, which works with employers to design new world-class apprenticeship standards across many sectors. He announced a second phase of 29 apprenticeship trailblazer sectors including law, media, hospitality, tourism and nursing. More than 340 employers are involved in the new apprenticeship sectors.
The MTC recently announced a new £36 million advanced manufacturing training centre to be built at Ansty Park alongside the current site. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is providing £18 million funding for the new facility, matched by a further £18 million of industry support to the programme. The centre will provide a significant contribution towards solving the skills shortages which have been prevalent in manufacturing for many years.
The new training centre will be a flagship facility for an advanced apprenticeship programme. Apprentices will learn the latest technology in areas such as intelligent automation, additive layer manufacture, laser machining and welding. They will be able to test and develop their skills in sponsored placements, including the opportunity to undertake international assignments.
On completion of the programme, the apprentices will have the potential to complete an engineering degree. The centre will also support engineering graduates to achieve chartered engineer status and industrial design graduates to develop their entrepreneurial skills. The MTC will provide the manufacturing process expertise and business management support to the industrial design graduates, enabling them to market test their ideas and launch their own products and enterprises.
The training centre is part of an ambitious £90 million expansion plan for the MTC and marks the beginning of a strategy to establish cultural changes in developing the skills and processes needed for future manufacturing in the UK.
Following the apprenticeship announcement, the Prime Minister toured some of the MTC’s facilities and saw ground-breaking research into advanced tooling, intelligent automation and virtual simulation.
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by the Technology Strategy Board.