The Skills Minister, Nick Boles MP, has officially opened the Henry Ford Academy, a new, training facility at Daventry in Northamptonshire.
Accompanied by Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Andy Barratt, the Minister toured the facility and as well as meeting a number of apprentices, he also had the opportunity to demonstrate some of his own skills.
Representing a multi-million pound investment, the Academy merges the capabilities of two previous Ford colleges – the Technical Training Centre located separately at Daventry, and the Henry Ford College in Loughborough – to provide training for technicians, sales staff and management throughout Ford’s national dealer network.
The Henry Ford Academy occupies a new building that is an extension to the existing 150,000 square-metre Parts Distribution Centre on the Daventry site. It delivers courses to adult learners up to Diploma and Masters Degree level, as well as students taking the successful Ford Masters Apprenticeship programmes.
Nick Boles MP, said: “Apprenticeships deliver the high quality and technical training our young people need to succeed. Ford is helping to develop a new generation of engineers and technicians.
“I hope more businesses can be inspired to get involved and help create three million new apprentices by 2020.”
Andy Barratt, said: “With the latest Ford vehicles now demonstrating technology leadership, it is important that our dealer teams receive the highest quality technical and product training. This world-class new facility enables us to do just that.”
Henry Ford Academy manager, Stuart Harris, said: “This major investment reflects the importance Ford places on education and training to support and grow our business in the UK. Ford’s dealer training programme is recognised as the strongest in the industry, and this new facility provides a fitting home to build on that programme for the future.”
The two-level building includes workshop areas, classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium and a vehicle showroom as well as a rest area and a large restaurant. Both the interior and exterior of the building follow the design and style of the new-look Ford dealer showrooms.
Extensive use of glazing in the building allows Academy delegates to gain an appreciation of the training being conducted in both the sales and after-sales programmes. Throughout the building, the latest materials and design approaches have been used to ensure excellent overall energy efficiency and environmental performance.
To create the new building, contractors replaced the existing roof and walls to build a new two-level interior structure. A dedicated entrance on the upper level is reached by an access bridge, to ensure the training building is completely separated from the Parts Distribution Centre.