Nick Clegg champions manufacturing

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, visited the prospective site of The British Glass Academy Building and took a tour of the city’s University Technical College (UTC) to meet young people studying engineering, manufacturing and design courses.

The visit follows the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement a few months ago of £5m funding for The British Glass Academy Building as part of the Sheffield City Regional Growth Deal.

The provision of a dedicated building will enable the British Glass Academy to significantly extend its facilities, to include ‘mini’ factories for training, R&D facilities and a dedicated educational centre.

Mr Clegg visited phase two of Sheffield Business Park, the prospective location of the new building, which is also the site of the University of Sheffield’s proposed new advanced manufacturing research campus.

Work on the University’s Factory 2050 has already begun and a masterplan to develop out 50 acres of land, secured by the University for a range of advanced manufacturing initiatives, is currently in preparation. Co-locating the Glass Academy at the heart of the Sheffield City Region’s growing advanced manufacturing hub would offer significant opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Students chat to Nick Clegg at UTC Sheffield
Students chat to Nick Clegg at UTC Sheffield

Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass and The Glass Academy, said: “The glass industry is rooted in the work of a Sheffield University department 100 years ago so it’s fitting that the creation of the British Glass Academy world class centre of excellence as the hub of glass training in the UK will be based in Sheffield in collaboration with the University.”

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We were pleased to welcome the Deputy Prime Minister to the University to show him our proposed advanced manufacturing research campus which is absolutely central to our future plans as we continue to explore and deliver innovative ways of offering young people access to high quality training and education, as well as working closely with the advanced manufacturing sector to ensure they can achieve maximum benefits from the real-life implementation of research carried out within the University.”

The Deputy Prime Minister was then given a tour of UTC Sheffield before meeting a group of enthusiastic learners from a range of technical courses.

The first of its kind in the region, the £10million UTC Sheffield specialises in technical qualifications in the creative, digital, engineering and manufacturing sectors, as well as offering mainstream academic lessons. The idea is for young people aged 14-19 years old to obtain qualifications employers value the most and prepare them for real jobs with comprehensive work placement programmes.

British Glass, through its Glass Academy initiative, has committed to partner with the college on leading curriculum projects, interviewing for its apprenticeship programme and offering careers days.

Nick Clegg MP, said: “After securing investment for the new British Glass Academy and the Universities’ Factory 2050 down in Westminster, it’s hugely satisfying to come back to Sheffield and see shovels starting to go in the ground. Our advanced manufacturing hub is fast becoming the envy of the world and both these new world class developments will only enhance our reputation even further. This can only mean even more investment and jobs for local people.

“Talking to some of the students at Sheffield’s excellent new UTC brings it home just how important it is to carry on building a stronger and more balanced economy. We want to make sure that young people in our area have the best possible chance to gain a good job and get on in life.”

Nick Crew, UTC Sheffield Principal, added: “Working in close collaboration with employers such as The Glass Academy to deliver the curriculum and live projects will help to provide employers with a well-educated and skilled workforce for the future. We were delighted to welcome Nick Clegg here to provide him with an insight into the unique opportunities that the UTC offers our students.”

Launched in 2013 by British Glass, the Sheffield-based trade association for the UK glass manufacturing sector, The Glass Academy is a skills development programme which offers a complete training programme for school leavers through to future industry leaders, providing Apprenticeships, bespoke glass sector courses and professional qualifications.