All aboard for AMRC apprentices

Apprentices from the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre have received a bus to use for engagement activities with the region’s local schools.

AMRC apprentices Sean Goodwin of Nikken and Abbie Plumer of Symphony Group PLC with AMRC Trainer Gareth Wilkinson and their new bus.
AMRC apprentices Sean Goodwin of Nikken and Abbie Plumer of Symphony Group PLC with AMRC Trainer Gareth Wilkinson and their new bus.

First Group plc, transport operator in the UK and North America, has donated the bus – which will be refurbished by students before it hits the road.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) approached First Group seeking a bus that could be used as a project for their engineering apprentices to strip out, refit and restore to full working order as a mobile teaching and demonstration facility.

First Group donated the bus, which has been retired from its fleet in running condition, to the Training Centre free of charge; along with a full set of tyres kindly donated by Bridgestone – which provide tyres for the First Group fleet.

AMRC Training Centre operations manager, Kerry Featherstone explained: “The bus will be fantastic hands-on experience for the Training Centre’s maintenance and mechanical engineering apprentices.

“Supported by First Group technicians assisting with parts and manuals, they will be refurbishing the bus so it will once again be running in top condition.”

The AMRC Training Centre has grand plans for the bus, once the apprentices have refurbished the bus, it will be tested to ensure its road-worthiness and put back into service.

The bus was donated free-of-charge by First Group plc, transport providers for the UK and North America.
The bus was donated free-of-charge by First Group plc, transport providers for the UK and North America.

The apprentices will use the bus to further their work as ambassadors for studying subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They will fit the bus out with displays, demonstrations and use the bus to show local children for open days and events at the AMRC Training Centre.

Alan Barstow, engineering manager for First Bus Sheffield, visited the AMRC with colleagues to hand over the bus to the apprentices.

He commented: “We were happy to donate a bus that would have usually gone on to be scrapped, so a programme like this can ensure the apprentices get great experience refurbishing the bus.

“I am extremely proud that First Bus Sheffield can be part of what is happening here at the AMRC and the AMRC Training Centre, as they are both adding real value to the Sheffield City Region.”

The new bus will complement MANTRA, the AMRC’s 14m HGV trailer packed with the latest state of the art machinery and simulators for use at educational STEM events across the country.

Assisted by AMRC apprentices, MANTRA recently attended MACH 2016, the national manufacturing technologies conference. Over five days, some of the thousands of aspiring young engineers attending the learning and development zone were able to get hands-on experience with the AMRC’s cutting-edge technologies.

However, the 14m lorry can be too big or heavy to visit smaller local schools. So the new bus will allow the apprentices to take their work out on the road to more local school children.