People & Skills Projects - 06 February 2015

Engineering centre’s VIP treatment

An inspirational centre that is training the next generation of engineers was given the VIP seal of approval this week (4th February).

West Nottinghamshire College’s Engineering Innovation Centre, which is training up to 600 students in the sector, was officially opened by global engineering icon Professor Lord Bhattacharyya.

Engineering Centre 1.jpg-orig

Lord Bhattacharyya, founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, met with students who are studying on the range of programmes from entry to university-level – including full-time learners, apprentices and those studying higher education programmes – as well as local employers in the engineering sector.

He unveiled a commemorative plaque to officially open the state-of-the-art centre, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, and joined college principal and chief executive, Dame Asha Khemka, on a student-led tour of its facilities, meeting fellow learners and students of the college-sponsored Vision Studio School who use the centre for their vocational education.

Students and guests also enjoyed a presentation by Jonathan Ellis of Up Science – a company that specialises in delivering science workshops and activities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and robotics.

The £5.8 million centre provides students with some of the best vocational training facilities in the country including dedicated workshops for electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering, motor vehicle and fabrication and welding.

It has been created to produce highly-trained technicians in specialist fields while helping to plug skills gaps across a range of sectors including manufacturing, vehicle maintenance and advanced automation.

In addition to being trained in carbon and hybrid technologies, students have access to advanced design and manufacture machinery, along with high-spec motor vehicle diagnostic facilities.

Previously, the college’s engineering courses were run out of two separate, smaller sites in Mansfield, which gave limited scope to expanding its provision. Running them under one roof means it is now delivering a multi-skilled curriculum that boosts students’ employment prospects by exposing them to a greater number of disciplines.

Lord Bhattacharyya said: “The facilities at the Engineering Innovation Centre are second-to-none and the students here are getting the cutting-edge, technical education they need to take with them to university or into the workplace.

“The students are showing such promise and enthusiasm, and are all very knowledgeable. I’ve been immensely impressed by what I’ve seen.

“It’s brilliant what the college has done and this example should be replicated all over the country. If we don’t start to plug the skills gaps, manufacturing will suffer. Britain was a hot-bed of engineering and manufacturing skills 20 to 30 years ago and we need to get back to this. This centre will play a vital role in once again making Britain a leader in technical education.”

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