CONSERVATIVE minister Kris Hopkins yesterday opened a state-of-the-art education centre to train the next generation of engineers at the scene of one of the most bitter confrontations of the 1984 miners’ strike.
The Yorkshire MP said it was a huge privilege to launch the AMRC Training Centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, built on the field where police clashed with miners at the Battle of Orgreave.
Mr Hopkins told an audience of business leaders that despite the trauma and difficult times of 30 years ago, Sheffield and Rotherham “have been able to go some way better” with the new facility.
The centre provides practical and academic skills to apprentices from manufacturers with operations in the region including Tata Steel, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, AES SEAL, MTL Group and Evenort.
Craig McKay, managing director at Evenort, told the Yorkshire Post that the centre will also provide an engineering pathway that appeals to young people in schools who are deciding on future careers.
“There are some good jobs in engineering, provided that you have the knowledge and skill set,” he said.
Alison Bettac, director of training, said the training centre offers a unique opportunity for young people to learn vital industry skills with the very best manufacturers in the region and the world.
She told the audience: “It is critical that we have work-ready young people.”
Mr Hopkins, who is the minister responsible for local growth, said it was amazing to see world-class businesses make their home in Sheffield and Rotherham, which presents a great opportunity for young people to learn vital skills.
“The success of these people is the kind that will bring success to families, homes and places and the theatres and green spaces.”
The AMRC is part of Sheffield University and is backed by leading global manufacturers.
Some 200 people attended the launch.