From using the latest computer design technology to getting their hands dirty under the bonnet of a car, a new state of the art engineering college in Sutton will give young engineers the best possible start in their career.
West Nottinghamshire College has invested £5.8 million in creating a flagship engineering and automotive hub that provides students with some of the best vocational training facilities in the East Midlands.
This week young engineers were starting courses at the huge open-plan workshops at new Engineering Innovation Centre on Oddicroft Lane.
Head of Engineering Brian Malyan said: “The centre is really about the development of the engineers of the future.
Here we have four kinds of engineering, fabrication and welding, motor vehicle, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, and the latest in design technology.
“Our students come to us with high aspirations and want to go on the skills ladder as high as they can.
“We intend to meet the needs of local employers so students will be employable as well - there is a big demand for young engineers and companies want new talent in the local area.
“Years ago the college had less than 100 apprentices - now it has more than 300 apprentices with real jobs.
“These people will be our full time students who have been taken on by employers who come back to us to develop their skills even further.”
Dame Asha Khemka, Principal and Chief Executive said: “In creating this flagship centre, the college is responding to the region’s existing and emerging skills needs by ensuring we produce the highly-trained engineers required by employers. Higher-level skills are what employers frequently say they are missing and, with many engineers approaching retirement age, it’s vital we help plug the skills gap.
“The engineering sector’s significance to the economy and to jobs growth can’t be underestimated, given that it runs through so many key industries such as transport, manufacturing and low-carbon.
“And with the East Midlands being home to major employers in the aerospace, automotive and rail sectors, along with SMEs in the local supply chain, there is a vast range of employment opportunities for those with the right qualifications. That’s why high-quality, job-relevant training has never been more important.”
Dame Khemka chatted with students as she toured the facility on Monday.
Third year motor vehicle engineer Lauren Lambert said: “I like this centre, it is much better than Ashfield - it is bigger and there are more cars there to work on. You get to learn what goes wrong with different vehicles.”
Lauren 18, from Clipstone used to help her father scrap cars and has been interested in them from an early age. Her dream job is to eventually own her own garage.
Mechanical engineering student Courey Tindall, 17 of Kirkby was working a milling machine. He said: “I am really enjoying my course. I am learning to use all the hi tech machines as well as hand tools.”
The former Ashfield Comprehensive pupil wants to become an engineer in the Royal Navy.
In addition to being trained in carbon and hybrid technologies, students have access to advanced design and manufacture machinery, along with high-spec motor vehicle diagnostic facilities.
There are classrooms, IT suites, a library and learning resource area housed on a giant mezzanine overlooking the main vocational areas.
Supported by local employers, the centre accommodates more than 600 students per week including full-time learners, apprentices and those studying higher education programmes.
Previously, the college’s engineering courses were run out of two separate, smaller sites in Mansfield, which gave limited scope to expanding its provision. Running them under one roof means it is now delivering a multi-skilled curriculum that boosts students’ employment prospects by exposing them to a greater number of disciplines.