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Training steps lead to the next generation of engineering talent at MTC
Training steps lead to the next generation of engineering talent at MTC
Training steps lead to the next generation of engineering talent at MTC
Training steps lead to the next generation of engineering talent at MTC

Training steps lead to the next generation of engineering talent at MTC

Added to MTDCNC by XYZ Machine Tools on 25 January 2017

As you would expect from the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Coventry, with its stated aim of ‘inspiring Great British manufacturing, on the global stage’; when it created its Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) it wanted to deliver the best in terms of skills development. It is achieving this through the development of a high technology training programme, directly employing apprentices and, of course, investment in the correct machine tools to enhance skills. The most recent investment being nine machines from XYZ Machine Tools, which are being used to provide the steps from basic manual machines through to CNC.

“We currently have 120 apprentices spread over three cohorts, all of which are directly employed by the MTC. The aim is to develop their skills to a level that will add value to SME companies in our area and, be ambassadors of the AMTC with their future employers after their initial two-years of training,” says Neil Fowkes, Head of Training at AMTC’s Training Services. “In their first year our apprentices attend a local college to work towards their EAL Extended Diploma. They then return to the AMTC where they will work on various individual and team projects as undertaking training on three core subjects of Metrology, CNC and Intelligent Automation. After this we feel they are developing in to well-rounded and knowledgeable trainees and we work with local SMEs to make them aware of the available skills, this is enhanced by a series of work placements for the apprentices. That isn’t the end of their training, though, as they have the option of extending their education and going on to study for a Higher Education Programme if their grades and future employer allow.”

It is when these apprentices return from their time at college that they need to start making the transition to becoming knowledgeable about machine tools and the application of CNC. In order to achieve this, a range of machines that would make those transitional steps straightforward were required and, with its range of manual machines and ProtoTRAK controlled mills and lathes, XYZ Machine Tools became the obvious choice. It wasn’t just the machines that swung the decision for the MTC as they were also looking for a partner that understood the training environment and could work with the staff running the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre.

“We needed a broad range of suppliers that we could develop a valued relationship with and with the potential for natural growth as we develop our training activities. When we met with XYZ it quickly became obvious that they understood the training environment, and they worked with us to ensure we acquired the machines that were needed, not what they wanted to sell. This willingness of XYZ Machine Tools to work with us, along with its extensive experience in the education and training sector, gave us the confidence that we needed. In turn this will lead to a good working relationship in years to come,” says Neil Fowkes.

The XYZ machines installed at the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre include five manual machines consisting of two XYZ trainer 1330 lathes, two SLV manual mills, all fitted with Newall digital readouts, along with an XYZ 1020 surface grinder. These manual machines are complemented by four ProtoTRAK controlled machines, two XYZ SLX 1630 ProTURN lathes and two XYZ SMX 2000 ProtoTRAK mills. The machines are used to machine both standard test pieces and individual parts that students (both apprentices and those on graduate programmes) have designed as part of their design for manufacture studies. The AMTC also hosts many tours for students looking to take up an apprenticeship and the machines play an important role in these, with existing apprentices demonstrating the machine capabilities, or, in some cases, under strict supervision, students being able to machine simple parts for themselves.

“The combination of the XYZ machines, the experience of our sector and the ongoing support provided by XYZ has created an environment that is conducive to quality technical learning. XYZ has provided us with a complete package that included staff training and ongoing support,” says Neil Fowkes. “An example of this is an upcoming four-day advanced course for 12 of our trainees, where they will undergo intensive tuition on programming, not only on the XYZ ProtoTRAK control system, but also on Siemens controls, which will prepare them for the next step up in machine tool technology. This training came about through a discussion with John Aspinall, XYZ Machine Tools’ Education Sales Director. We identified that we had a need and within 24 hours of our discussion the training had been organised and scheduled.”      

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