HRH The Duke of York was today shown the achievements of The JCB Academy during a visit to honour the companies which have contributed to its success.
Accompanied by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, Prince Andrew was shown around The Academy at Rocester, Staffordshire by school principal Jim Wade. During the visit he met dozens of students who study in a high-tech environment that prepares them for work.
He was shown around the computer aided design classroom where students use 3D design software before transferring to the computer-aided manufacturing centre where students were operating laser cutters to put their designs into production.
The Duke also toured around the academy’s workshops and welding facilities before visiting a lean manufacturing event being run by Bosch Rexroth, industrial partner to The JCB Academy.
And it was a special day for six former students who were introduced to the royal visitor having completed their studies at The Academy before moving into Higher Apprenticeships in industry.
Holly Broadhurst, 18, of Leek, Luke McFall, 18, of Stafford and William Wainwright, 18, of Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent are all working at JCB. Kurt Clarke-Roome, 18, of Derby and Aiden Rogers, 19, of Derby are both working at Rolls-Royce, Derby and Megan Aucott, 19, of Stafford is working at Bentley, Crewe.
The Duke visited the JCB Academy as part of a wider interest in University Technical Colleges and bringing together employers, educators, and young people, to promote, support and recognise the importance of the development of the various pathways to employment.
One of the highlights of the visit was the presentation of certificates and commemorative plates to partner organisations which have supported The Academy since it opened in September 2010 through their commitment to setting real-life engineering challenges for the students.
Principal Jim Wade said: “The Duke of York is a real supporter of technical and vocational training for young people and is keen to see the development of schools like The JCB Academy, which are giving young people the opportunities to develop the skills and intellectual capacity to help UK plc compete in the global economy.
“When you are ploughing a new furrow, the support of those outside the organisation is crucial to your long term success, so to have someone like The Duke of York. We are eternally grateful for the support of our industry partners and their commitment to our young people, without which we could not realise our vision and make such a difference to the lives and aspirations of our young people.”
The Duke presented certificates and plates to Miles Pixley, JCB HR Manager; Nicola Swaney, of Rolls-Royce; Paul Fitzpatrick, of Toyota; Chloe Tupper, of National Grid; Julia Teale, of Bentley; Alastair Johnstone, of Bosch Rexroth and Louise Reynolds, of Network Rail.
Prince Andrew was presented with a scale model of an Archimedes screw, which provides electricity at The JCB Academy, by head boy Jack Straw, 17, of Spondon, Derby and head girl Leandra Rushton, 15, of Ashbourne.
The JCB Academy was set up to develop the students for careers in engineering and business. In September the first of its students to complete their studies started apprenticeships with companies including JCB, Rolls-Royce, Nestle, Bentley Motors as well as KMF, WD Tankers and B&B Tractors. In August The Academy announced that 99% of students had achieved A* to C grades in their GCSE results.