Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened EEF’s new Technology Hub in Aston on 30 March 2017. The event brought together manufacturing employers, local dignitaries and apprentices to celebrate the state-of-the-art facility that combines with the existing Technology Training Centre to bring EEF’s total investment in its apprenticeship training site to £12 million. The facility will help EEF train over 400 engineering apprentices who work at some of the UK’s top manufacturing employers every year.
The Princess Royal was shown around the centre by Neil Withey, EEF’s Director of Training, and Peter Winebloom, EEF’s Technical Director. The tour included the centre’s industry standard CAD (computer aided design) suite, Lean Training room and industry standard tool room – believed to be amongst one of only a handful in UK training centres. Other VIP guests at the opening included the Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of EEF.
During her visit, The Princess Royal met a number of first year apprentices who talked to her about their apprenticeships, the skills they are learning and their future career ambitions. They also demonstrated the latest CAD packages being used by apprentices and showed HRH how 3D printing is now being used in design.
The Technology Hub has been designed and equipped to replicate real-life modern engineering and manufacturing workplaces and will be responsible for delivering vital technical skills to the region. The new facility boasts 280 IT stations, £1.3 million of equipment and tools and has a wide range of areas devoted to developing technological skills, including robotics, electronics and rapid prototyping.
In addition to helping employers recruit and train apprentices, EEF is working with manufacturers across the UK to adjust to and make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy (rolled out the first week of April).