Business secretary Vince Cable today announced the launch of the National College for Advanced Manufacturing.
During his visit to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Cable stated that the government intends to work with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult organisation and with the EEF to establish a National College for Advanced Manufacturing, which will identify the needs of industry and develop training provision accordingly.
They will work with government to agree the detailed organisational structure of the college, based on autonomous institutions working together under the umbrella of a common National College offer and quality framework.
The National College for Advanced Manufacturing is part of a new wave of employer-led national colleges to help the UK develop world class practical skills, with other colleges focusing on digital skills, nuclear, high speed rail, onshore oil and gas, and wind energy.
Other colleges include:
- The National College for Digital Skills
- The National College for Wind Energy, headquartered in the Humber with other sites across the country
- The National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries at the Backstage Centre in Essex.
The four new colleges will cater for upwards of 10,000 students by 2020, offering professional qualifications up to postgraduate level, and hopefully helping the UK to close the productivity and skills gaps with its competitors.
Up to £80m of capital funding will be matched by employers over 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 – a potential total investment of £160m by 2017.
The National College will be established as a network of hubs that link innovation to training provision. The initial hubs will be the MTC Lloyds Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, which was the first organisation to adopt the National College approach and now an expanded AMRC Training Centre in Sheffield. Both will be designated as hubs of the National College for Advanced Manufacturing.
Further High Value Manufacturing Catapult training hubs are anticipated in Darlington and Bristol. The National College for Advanced Manufacturing will deliver nationally by identifying and working with the best established providers and engaging with them as spokes of the network.
Dick Elsy, chief executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said: “This is a tremendously important announcement. Ongoing growth and success of high value manufacturing requires us to continually deliver new breakthrough technologies. We can only do that by increasing the number of people entering the industry with the right skills to work on the latest technologies and equipment.”
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF said: “The new college will help Britain take several jumps ahead in the race to bridge the skills gap in this country and attract more people to develop a career in engineering and manufacturing.
“In Britain we’re often compared unfavourably with our German counterparts, who have for decades been seen as the leaders in vocational education. This announcement will help redress that balance and do so with a sense of urgency as we look to strengthen our own industrial base for the decades to come.
Cable explained: “Economic growth is underpinned by technological innovation, a strong manufacturing sector and scientific excellence. The UK can no longer afford to lag behind countries like France and Germany, which have invested heavily in technical skills at the highest level for generations.
“The National Colleges will function on a par with our most prestigious universities, delivering training that matches the best in the world. They will help build a strong, balanced economy that delivers opportunities for everyone across all regions.