New training centre to keep Oxfordshire a hi-tech hub

15 October 2018

A new training centre in Oxfordshire will equip up to 350 apprentices a year with badly-needed technical skills for the local economy.

Construction of the 3,800-square metre new Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) centre at Culham Science Centre is underway, and will welcome its first intake of apprentices in September 2019.

OAS is a partnership between STFC and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to increase the number of trained technicians available to local employers.

Helen Johnson, Head of Apprenticeship and Graduate Schemes at STFC said: “STFC already employs more than 80 apprentices across our laboratories and has a vibrant and growing apprenticeship programme, recruiting and training apprentices in engineering, project management, computing and ICT. They are an integral part of STFC’s skill base and this expansion of what OAS is able to offer is fantastic news for STFC and the many partner organisations we work with in the commercial and public sectors.”

For the past two years, OAS has been training apprentices at an existing facility at Culham. The number of trainees has increased to almost 80 and there are now 16 partner employers on board including Veolia Oxford Technologies, Oxford Instruments, Polar Technology, Valeofoods, Abbott and Satellite Applications Catapult.

The new building will be able to accommodate many more apprentices, with industry-standard equipment covering a wide range of engineering and technology disciplines.

David Martin, the UKAEA’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Oxfordshire is one of Europe’s biggest areas for science and technology, and the amount of people employed in these industries is four times the national average. We can only sustain this success if we have more skilled young people coming through, and OAS is a vital part of this skills pipeline.

“The number of new starters at OAS for 2018 proves the demand exists for high quality apprenticeships in the area. The employer-led training centre we are building at Culham will allow us to greatly expand our capacity and provide more local firms with technicians who can go straight into the workplace with the skills the employer needs.”

Training will be provided by the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, which teaches core engineering skills alongside the latest advanced manufacturing techniques being used in industry.

More information is available on the OAS website.

Last updated: 15 October 2018

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