Alex Ferguson kicks off new Rotherham apprentice training centre

A FOOTBALLING superstar has visited a manufacturing powerhouse to help kick off a training school for future engineers.

Sir Alex Ferguson visited the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Catcliffe to address apprentices as construction work began on the site’s new training centre.

The football legend talked about his young life as a toolmaker’s apprentice in the Clyde shipyards before “fate” stepped in and he was signed by Dunfirmline Athletic, kick-starting his sporting career.

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He spoke of the importance of apprenticeships as an alternative to university studies, explaining that his own on-the-job engineer’s training gave him the can-do attitude which brought him success.

“Education is fantastic,” said Sir Alex, “but the education from going to university is different from the education of an engineer — absolutely different.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be an engineer. I thought I was going to come here and teach you something from my experience.

“But I’ve also learned something just listening to these young lads and hearing what their ambitions are and I applaud that.”

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He added: “At Manchester United we believe in giving opportunities to young people — and it’s amazing how they can surprise you.”

The AMRC Training Centre will recruit 250 apprentice engineers each year, providing on-site training courses and opportunities to work alongside giants like Boeing and Rolls Royce.

Alison Bettac, AMRC’s training director, said: “Like Sir Alex, we are excited and passionate about this journey we are on.

“I’m so proud of the staff here, who are committed to making the AMRC Training Centre a success. We want the UK to regain its place in the global manufacturing league table.”

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She added: “Being based in Rotherham we will be offering opportunities to plenty of Rotherham individuals here.”

The manufacturing school is being built using £12.5 million from the government Regional Growth Fund and another £5 million from the European Regional Development Fund.