A ‘state of the art’ laboratory, designed to further increase the skills and employment opportunities of engineering and professional ‘construction’ students and apprentices, has been unveiled by Derby College Group (www.derby-college.ac.uk
The £1.75 million Technology Hub — developed within an existing part of the Derby College Group (DCG) Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills College — has been supported by a £1.3 million grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (this is a private sector-led partnership promoting economic growth in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire).
Funding for the Technology Hub, from a £250 million Local Growth Fund allocation, was awarded by the UK Government to part-fund infrastructure projects that “directly benefit the LEP’s local economy and create jobs”.
The Technology Hub will be officially opened this summer, in time for DCG’s new student intake in September.
The mechatronics equipment in the Hub has been designed by multi-national industrial control and automation company Festo, and is a ‘scaled down’ version of the firm’s next-generation production lines and mirror the “high-tech artificial intelligence manufacturing equipment used in a wide range of industry sectors, from automotive to confectionery”.
Students, from school leavers to those on DCG’s higher-education programmes, will learn a range of industry-relevant practical and theoretical skills, including: computer programming; how to operate pneumatic, hydraulic and robotic manufacturing control systems; and maintenance of the equipment. The Technology Hub also houses CNC milling and turning machines, as well as 3-D printers.
Liza-Jo Guyatt, executive head of Roundhouse College, said: “The engineering environment continues to change rapidly, with the increased use of robotics and advanced intelligent electronic controls blurring the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines.
"The development of mechatronics requires significant investment in technology, to provide learning environments that support the application in tomorrow’s employment opportunities.
"Our new Technology Hub will support the needs of employers and the career aspirations of our students and apprentices.”