Future of engineering showcased by students at West Nottinghamshire College's Engineering Innovation Centre

A new chapter in automation and robotics technology has been showcased by West Nottinghamshire College, highlighting the breadth of new jobs that are being created in the sector.

By Shelley Marriott
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 2:41 pm

The college opened the doors to its Engineering Innovation Centre, in Sutton, to demonstrate its state-of-the-art training facilities to companies and stakeholders, who learned more about how this rapidly-expanding technology is set to benefit local and regional businesses.

The event, ‘Automation and Robotics: Is your business fit for the future?’, was also attended by a host of organisations and training providers who demonstrated their provision along with opportunities available in the sector.

It also saw representatives from the partner colleges demonstrate their provision in engineering, robotics and manufacturing, which will provide new skills and employment opportunities within these key industries.

Extended Diploma students Joseph Colclough and Kacey Gilberthorpe

Engineering tutors and students from West Nottinghamshire College demonstrated its high-tech training facilities that support its new automation and robotics curriculum.

Visitors also discussed the bespoke training available on their own premises using the college's flagship mobile training facility. The college has invested in an electric vehicle that is now visiting employers across the area to deliver robotics training to workers in the engineering sector.

Jason Roper from the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce spoke about its Digital Upscaler programme, which seeks to support businesses in all sectors to embrace and adopt digital technologies of all kinds, helping employers to understand their digital tech needs and then develop effective plans.

Andy Dean, project manager for the Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre (ADMC), discussed the planned new £30m development, which is being designed to support local and regional businesses in understanding and successfully integrating new technology in order to improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Tutors demonstrated how to control the robots

The ADMC is a key project within the £62m secured for Ashfield as part of the government’s Towns Fund, which, together with funding from the Future High Streets Fund will bring more than £70m to the district, and will be a national centre of excellence focussed on promoting and providing access to the latest technologies and best practice in automated distribution.

Innovation Nottinghamshire’s director Nick Mellors delivered a session looking at the potential 5G has for driving business growth, while Ashfield District Council representatives discussed the support offered to businesses in the district.

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Head of the college’s engineering department, Chris Oliver, said: “The event was a great success and saw a really diverse range of businesses come along to discover more about our innovative training facilities as well as the future of jobs in the automation and robotics sector.

The state-of-the-art equipment was presented for guests to tour around

“There was the shared positivity that the courses which we are running will very much support the development of aspiring engineers. With new technologies comes the need for skilled people who are able to service, repair and understand the principles of operation of autonomous machinery and robotic equipment.

“I look forward to working closely with our partner colleges throughout this project and sharing our knowledge and interest with each other and our communities.”

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Partner colleges and organisations were present at the showcase