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The Mechatronics Centre is Training Engineers of the Future

18/10/2017 Archived
Technology is advancing fast. Our engineers need to be well versed in the technical and problem solving skills required to keep this high growth sector globally competitive. We’ll also need to make sure there’s a sufficient amount of them. With the help of £225,000 from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, East Riding College’s Mechatronics Centre in Bridlington aims to provide those skills. It’s also building vital links between schools, colleges and employers, to create an educational pathway for prospective engineers; from school to college, to employment. “A huge number of engineering and manufacturing businesses are set to benefit from developments in mechatronics. The LEP is pleased to see our investment in this priority sector realised in such a high-quality environment. Producing a workforce that is skilled in mechatronics is key to supporting our local manufacturing and engineering companies with the emerging technical skills they need to grow their businesses and develop our local economy”, says Dr Ruth Smith, Chair of the LEP’s Skills and Employability Board.

What is Mechatronics?

Mechatronics is the branch of engineering that focuses on designing and manufacturing products that have both mechanical and electrical components. It brings robotics into engineering, with a strong emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach and problem solving. Mechatronic engineers work in companies that require a hi-tech input into their developments; from developing new solutions to industrial problems, through to integrating, designing and building new products and technologies. In a world where tech is increasingly relied upon to solve global problems, progress industrially and improve efficiency through automation, someone has to engineer and manage the technology of the future. That’s where mechatronics comes in.

The Mechatronics Centre

East Riding College’s Mechatronics Centre is a specialist workshop, designed to provide students with modern engineering courses that meet the demands of this evolving industry. The Centre supports the delivery of highly specialised engineering training and has opened up further modules for students choosing engineering as a career. Students obtain hands on experience in things such as programing Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machinery – put simply; learning how to tell machines to build a product and designing the blueprints and setting the commands for it to do so. We collaborated with employers, suppliers and other education providers on this project, to ensure that students will be able to train on industry-standard equipment and the industry has been very supportive advising on and in some cases, providing the latest state-of-the-art machinery for our students. It shows a real desire in the industry to invest in the next generation of engineers”, said John Doris, Vice-Principal for Finance and Resources at East Riding College. The Humber Estuary

Why is this Important?

Engineering is forecast as a growth sector in our area over the next decade, due to the development of the ‘energy estuary’ in the Humber and its associated supply chain and infrastructure requirements. The sector’s needs are also changing; higher level skills are in demand to replace an ageing workforce and increasingly sophisticated, cross-disciplinary approaches are required in the manufacturing sector. Taking full advantage of these opportunities will require a highly skilled workforce, with the knowledge capable of adapting alongside this burgeoning sector. We’ll also need to make sure that engineering is an open careers route for young people.

How do we do that?

The Mechatronics Centre is part of an innovative HEAD into engineering partnership – a collaborative agreement between school, college, employer and training association. It makes sure that pupils in years 10 and 11 have a clear pathway; from engineering as a GCSE option, to a full time college course or apprenticeship, and onto their first steps in a career in the industry. The partnership between Headlands School in Bridlington, East Riding College, A B Graphic International (a Bridlington-based multinational), and Derwent Training Association, is one of the first of its kind. It will help to grow and improve links between educators and employers; making sure that young people can see the benefits of engineering as a career option and that engineering students are trained in the skills, equipment and processes employers need most. “The Centre gives young people the opportunity to develop the practical and problem-solving skills that employers in manufacturing and engineering want, making them extremely employable in our eyes. The future looks bright for Bridlington’s budding engineers and we hope our investment and involvement through the HEAD Partnership will encourage more young people into engineering and help to support our thriving industry”, says Phil Robson, Operations Manager for AB Graphic International. ‘’The new Centre, along with the HEAD into Engineering programme, really puts us in the best position to train highly-skilled engineers in our region’’, says John. The Mechatronics Centre officially opened on the 17th October at East Riding College’s Bridlington campus. Students are already making use of its innovative new facilities. To find out about more of the LEP’s Skills Capital investments, visit our Skills Capital Page.    
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