Training centre opens
27 June 2014
MP Julian Huppert has officially opened a new £3 million engineering and manufacturing department in Cambridge – with the help of a robot.
A £30,000 robotic arm, part of the new state-of-the-art engineering facilities at Cambridge Regional College, was controlled by the city MP as it unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
The new department is furnished with industry-standard equipment, including 3D printers, robotics, manufacturing workshops, specialist welding and fabrication areas, CADCAM, PLC technology, pneumatics and hydraulics, a materials testing laboratory. and process instrumentation and control systems.
Employers in the engineering sector played a key part in setting up the new department - they were consulted by the college to find out what equipment and tooling would best help train their future workforces.
Dr Huppert, who was presented with a spanner made on one of the new 3D printers, performed the opening ceremony in front of employers, staff and students. He said the new facilities were a superb addition to the college.
"This new facility is a brilliant initiative and it is great to see engineering coming on in this way. I hope it will be used to generate more skills and train apprentices," he said.
Dr Paul Woollin, research director at The Welding Institute said there was an increasing need for young people to train as engineering apprentices.
"There are not enough young people going into the profession. We need the PhDs and the boffins, but we also need the people to run the equipment and turn the boffins' ideas into reality," he said.
"This is a wonderful facility and it is really nice to see what the apprentices are working on. Apprentices are so important to us at TWI. We need people and this is where CRC comes in. The number of apprentices is only going to increase in the future."
Alan Ward, head of engineering at CRC, said: "We have excellent relationships with employers in the engineering sector and we consulted them before investing in these superb new facilities to make sure we would meet all their growing training needs."