Article summary: We are continuing to invest in substantial equipment upgrades at our Engineering Centre in Havant to ensure our apprentices are able to learn using the latest technology, as well as giving them the greatest level of work readiness for when they complete their programme.
As part of the next phase of investment, we are installing new Ajax centre lathes - Ajax Machine Tools Int Ltd is recognised as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of both conventional and CNC machine tools - and a new 3D printer. The workshop that these are going into has been repainted and redesigned in time for our new intakes of apprentices in April and September.
Our engineering apprentices follow a structured, logical training programme that teaches them how to draw and design components before manufacturing them. The introduction of the 3D printer enables us to simulate a modern engineering environment as part of the apprentices’ training. This allows the apprentices to simulate the design of an item through to producing a model and later, manufacturing it on new machines.
This new equipment builds on the substantial investments already made throughout the centre over the past couple of years. In 2018, we invested £18K on a new hydraulic guillotine, which enables us to efficiently cut metal sheets up to a thickness of 6.5mm. We use this to create metal items that the apprentices can use to practise their welding skills, and as this can be done prior to lessons, teaching time can be optimised.
We invested a further £18K in our welding area recently. We have 10 welding bays and each of these was fitted with new Fronius TransSteel multiprocess MIG welding packages. In addition to this, we have built new welding tables which are on casters so that a lecturer can stand on one side and conduct a demonstration, enabling the student to watch or demonstrate their own skills to the lecturer. This has greatly enhanced educational ability in this practical area.
We have also installed a new tensile tester machine at the centre, which forms a key part of the BTEC curriculum. New vices have been purchased for the maintenance area and hydraulic simulation software has been installed to enhance practical knowledge. The apprentice rest area has also undergone improvements, which are due to be completed and ready for use this month.
We plan to continue investing in our engineering facilities significantly over the coming months and years. Our next move will be to install touch screens at the front of each classroom to enhance education delivery, upgrade the toilet facilities and provide a new tool store and tool boxes.
By continuing to invest in upgrading our equipment in this way, we’re ensuring our apprentices will benefit from learning and working with the latest tools throughout their training, which will instill confidence in them that will continue on into their future careers.
PETA’s CEO Huw Chapman said: “This new equipment will enable our apprentices to develop the most practical knowledge, skills and behaviours, which are immediately transferable to the workplace. This is beneficial to all parties - the apprentices are able to hit the ground running when they start work, employers gain rounded, skilled staff and PETA’s goal of ensuring ‘work readiness with great education’ is achieved.”
As a registered charity, we reinvest our profits into infrastructural upgrades that help us deliver the most modern training possible to the next generation of engineers and manufacturing professionals. This allows us to maintain our commitment to being a leading engineering apprenticeship training provider.
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