Nottingham retaining UKs world-class manufacturing skills

17 Oct 2012 12:55:10.200

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Two trainee technicians from The University of Nottingham have made the shortlist to represent Great Britain at World Skills — a global trade skills event taking place in Leipzig in July.

Ben Shaw and Joe Bellis, who specialise in CNC milling and CNC turning respectively, are now hoping to compete at the celebration of young talented individuals from a range of different trades after making it to GB’s final four.

The success, which comes against competition from trainees at some of the country’s biggest engineering firms — including Rolls Royce and BAE, follows a collaboration between the University and South Nottingham College to ensure that vital manufacturing skills are not lost.

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Retaining skills

Paul Antcliff, Senior Technical Manager in the University’s Faculty of Engineering, explained: “As older technicians retired we realised that there was not the level of skill out there to replace them, so four years ago we decided to train our own.

“The Trainee Technician program ensures the correct level of technical expertise is continued in the Faculty’s departments. These skills enable the University to give valuable practical support to the academics, researchers and students across the varied degree courses on offer.”

Paul revealed that the success of the trainees had also had a positive effect in the workplace. He continued: “It has been brilliant for morale. The guys are incredibly proud that the trainees they work alongside have been recognised. You cannot get the skills out of a textbook that the experienced technicians have shared and their support has been invaluable.”

Ben and Joe’s duties include manufacturing detailed engineering components to support both research and teaching activities, giving advice on designs and material selection, and the teaching of students in the use of machines and engineering techniques within the Engineering Applications Workshop.

Nationwide recognition

Such has been the success of the Engineering trainees since they were first taken on four years ago, that the scheme has now been expanded across the University. While Ben has moved into the final year of his trainee placement, Joe has now been employed on a full-time basis.

After hearing that he had got through to the final four to represent the UK at the World Skills competition, Ben said: “I feel proud to have got this far and to have the chance to represent the University but most of all myself. This is a once in a life time opportunity and I am grateful to have been given it.

“The other technicians here at the University couldn’t do more to help us improve our milling and turning, and the experience and training that I have gained through World Skills is helping me to become a really proficient and skilful engineer.”

Joe added: “The training we will receive over the next few months will be of a very high standard, ensuring my skills are as high as possible in preparation for team selection in March. Career wise it is a huge opportunity for me, as I will be able to say I have competed at the highest level within my skill.

“Making the final has been a massive confidence boost for me personally, to know that I am one of the four best at my chosen skill in the country.”

Both trainee technicians will discover if they have been successful at the UK National Final at the NEC in Birmingham from 15-17 November.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United KingdomChina and Malaysia; according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2012, ‘Of all the British universities, Nottingham has embraced internationalism the most.’ It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK by application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

For more information, please email Paul Antcliff, Senior Technical Manager in the Faculty of Engineering, at
Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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