College to become a new centre of excellence in advanced manufacturing and engineering

A new centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and engineering is to open at Warrington & Vale Royal College’s Winsford campus in September, thanks to funding from Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and support from local employers.

The new Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Training (AMET) Centre was awarded £656,000 from the LEP’s Local Growth Fund and will serve the region as a specialist centre for materials measurement, testing and analysis and enhance the provision of digital and manufacturing skills training across Cheshire and Warrington. The centre will house equipment to support the skills required for smarter manufacturing techniques and accelerate the adoption and use of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) such as robotics, industrial control and digital intelligence which, in turn, will enable cross-sector collaboration and raise productivity and competitiveness.

Local employers have highlighted their aspiration to digitalise manufacturing processes and upskill their employees in parallel. Winsford’s new AMET centre will support this aspiration.

In Vale Royal there is a demand for hydraulics, robotics, pneumatics, PLCs and metallurgy fault-finding equipment for manufacturing. Employers such as Roberts Bakery, TATA Chemicals and Thermofisher articulated skills needs in these areas.

Nichola Newton, Principal & Chief Executive of Warrington & Vale Royal College, said: “The £656k investment from the LEP will enable the college to deliver bespoke skills training packages for our partner employers and expand on the range of technical qualifications and apprenticeships offered to students. Employers will be co-creating the curriculum with the college and this collaborative approach will enable us to provide a pipeline of talent to support the need for around 45,000 jobs in advanced manufacturing and engineering across Cheshire.”

Clare Hayward MBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We hear from companies almost daily of the importance of skills for growth and even in these challenging times those needs are only enhanced. We allocated £5m from our Local Growth Fund into 14 skills projects. It is clear that the AMET Centre will be a pivotal asset in helping our region’s manufacturing and engineering companies transform their processes as they embrace the shift towards digital innovation. We are delighted that the Centre is moving forward and will provide a new and unique learning environment from September.”

Alongside the AMET Centre, Warrington & Vale Royal College’s Winsford campus will also offer courses in Electrical Installation, Health & Social Care and Graphic Design.

Principal and CEO, Nichola Newton, added: “This is a very exciting time for Winsford campus and demonstrates the college’s commitment to enhancing further education in Vale Royal.

“We would love to hear from any engineering, manufacturing or allied services organisations or sector specialists in the Winsford, Northwich or Crewe area who would like to become involved in the project. Maybe you would like to become a member of our Engineering Employer Group or come and have a look around Winsford campus and see for yourself how impressive our facilities are; please do get in touch by contacting amet@wvr.ac.uk

Further details of Warrington & Vale Royal College’s AMET Centre will be released at a launch event in September 2020.

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