UK’s first additive manufacturing apprenticeship launching this September

This September, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), based in the UK, will launch what are described as the UK’s first additive manufacturing apprenticeships, with the goal of addressing skills shortages within the industry.

The MTC is an independent research and technology organisation, aiming to bridge the gap between academia and industry. It was founded in 2010 by four institutions, The University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, The University of Nottingham, and TWI.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre. Photo via MTC.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. Photo via MTC.

Apprenticeships address industry need

The MTC houses the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM). NCAM develops industry ready additive manufacturing processes. It also addresses barriers to the adoption of additive technologies, and legislative and standardisation issues facing the industry.

NCAM’s facilities and comprehensive range of AM equipment, including 3D printers from EOS, Renishaw, Stratasys and HP, should provide a valuable resource for the MTC’s apprentices.

Martin Dury, the MTC’s Learning Design Manager, said “While there are a number of additive training courses currently available in the UK, these tend to be focused on equipment use. The MTC is aiming to provide additive manufacturing apprenticeships that will cover the whole range of competences necessary for specific occupations. They will also offer accredited curricula of short courses to enable the up-skilling of existing staff.”

The MTC currently runs additive manufacturing courses, though they are tailored to decision makers looking for insights into the processes and design benefits of additive manufacturing. The new apprenticeships offered by the MTC will seek to produce a “pipeline of technicians fully skilled” to enter the industry. Apprenticeships will be targeted at 16-19 year old school leavers, and those in the industry wanting to boost their skills.

Dury says “We have all the equipment and capabilities to deliver first class, sector-wide and technology agnostic programmes for apprentices or existing employees.”

“The manufacturing industry is crying out for this and we will be able to make it available in a format which allows people to learn while earning”

Inside the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry's MTC. Photo via The MTC
Inside the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry’s MTC. Photo via The MTC

The MTC is currently inviting those who would like to contribute to the framework to contact them at [email protected].

The Centre for Additive Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, UK, launched a program of one/two day 3D printing courses last year, previously only available to businesses on a consultancy basis. AM UK, an independent, government-backed collaboration has published the UK’s Additive Manufacturing National Strategy. The 44 page document outlines the measures needed to ensure the UK remains competitive in high value manufacturing.

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Featured image shows powder sample handling at the MTC’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing. Photo via the MTC.