During the visit, the Chief Secretary was given a tour of the facility by Neil Withey, EEF's Director of Training. The new Hub is on the same site as the Technology Training Centre, EEF's landmark facility for apprenticeship training, opened in 2014. The new £5-million Hub will increase the number of apprentices trained at the centre to over 400 a year when fully operational.
As part of this rapid growth, EEF has also expanded its range of courses to include HNCs and HNDs for the first time. The launch of this Higher Education offering is a significant step forward in helping the manufacturing sector to battle a skills shortage and means that apprentices and students at the centre can now achieve the highest qualification in engineering, bar a full degree. The Chief Secretary met some of EEF’s first intake of Higher Education students to hear about their career ambitions and future plans.
The Chief Secretary was interested to see the wide range of areas devoted to developing technological skills, including robotics, electronics and rapid prototyping. He also visited the industry standard CAD (computer aided design) suite, the centre’s automated factory and its industry standard tool room – believed to be amongst one of only a handful in UK training centres.
During the tour he was presented by an apprentice – 21 year old Tom Middleton, a HNC Student working for Ishida - with a 3D printed model of Gladstone, the Treasury’s famous cat, created on the centre’s new 3D printing machine.
Once complete near the end of 2016, the new Technology Hub will boast 280 IT stations and £1.3 million of equipment and tools.
David Gauke (Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Christine Chapman (Technology Training Centre Manager) and Neil Withey (EEF's Director of Training)
David Gauke receives a 3D-printed version of the Treasury cat, Gladstone, from an engineering apprentice currently training with EEF in Aston.
A tutor at the Technology Hub shows David Gauke some of the training facilities at the Hub.
David Gauke and Neil Withey talk to apprentices in the Interactive learning suite at Technology Hub.