Derby College Group (DCG) has developed a state-of-the-art Mechatronics laboratory to further increase the skills and employment opportunities for Engineering and Professional Construction students and apprentices.
The new £1.75million Technology Hub – developed within an existing part of DCG’s Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills College in Pride Park – is supported by a £1.3m grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. It will be officially opened in early summer, in time for the new intake of students in September 2019.
D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership promoting economic growth, including via skills and training, across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The Technology Hub funding has come via the LEP’s Government- awarded Local Growth Fund allocation, used to part-fund infrastructure projects which directly benefit the area’s economy.
The Mechatronics equipment, designed by Festo, is a scaled-down version of their next generation of industry production lines. It mirrors the high-tech artificial intelligence manufacturing equipment that is commonly used in a wide range of industry sectors from confectionary to cars.
Engineering and Professional Construction students from school leavers to those on DCG’s higher education programmes will benefit from the Technology Hub as part of their wider study programmes. They will learn a wide range of industry-relevant practical and theoretical skills including computer programming; how to operate pneumatic, hydraulic and robotic manufacturing control systems and skilled maintenance of the equipment.
The development also includes the installation of upgraded CNC mill and turning equipment and 3D printers which are already being used by students in the Engineering and Professional Construction Academies at the Roundhouse College.
Executive Head of the Roundhouse College Liza-Jo Guyatt explained: “The engineering environment continues to change rapidly with the increase of robotics and sophisticated intelligent electronic controls that blur the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines.
“The development of Mechatronics requires significant investment in technology to provide learning environments which will support the application in tomorrow’s employment opportunities.
“Our new Technology Hub will therefore support the needs of employers and the career aspirations of our students and apprentices and is part of our vision to be a technology centre of excellence in the East Midlands.
“By prioritising the growth of Engineering and Construction provision, this investment is central to Derby College Group’s commitment to raise the level of higher skills within the future workforce.
“Expanding the opportunities for students will be key to productivity and growth amongst a wide range of Engineering industry sectors; such as rail, automotive manufacturing, food and drink maintenance and Construction.
“We are greatly looking forward to unveiling the Technology Hub to our current and potential students and apprentices as well as to employers across the region.”
Tom Goshawk, Capital Projects Manager for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Skills are a vital part of the D2N2 LEP area economy. Good skills training puts people on sustainable career paths and enables businesses to employ the right workers in order for them to grow.
“This is why D2N2 invests heavily in programmes promoting better and advanced skills, and in projects such as the Derby College Group’s new £1.75million Technology Hub.”