How will we travel in the future? Bradford College’s Sustainable Transport Open Day has shown how young people are developing the skills to keep the next generation moving.
City transport experts and business partners joined lecturers and students at the special event showcasing work to create the green transport workforce of the future.
New opportunities for the world of work
Introducing the event, Vice Principal Asa Gordon, said: “We’re a large city, we are a growing city and we are a young city. We are working together to train young people for the jobs of the future and ensure we give them the opportunities to enter the world of work.”
This is being done through the Future Technologies Centre, a new education, research and training framework designed by Bradford College to prepare students to develop the skills and qualifications for careers in the industries for the future. The college has joined forces with employers to develop a number of hubs for specific industries including sustainable transport, sustainable construction and allied and medical health technology. Hubs for the digital, sustainable science and engineering sectors are planned.
Inspiring a generation
As well as enabling students to access and train with the latest technology, the centre aims to future-proof jobs for young people in Bradford, create a greener future and inspire a generation.
On the centre’s steering board are the University of Bradford, Bradford Council and other economic, funding and strategic partnerships. Since the FTC was launched at the end of 2020, 85 employers have been engaged, with 40 committing to join hubs.
Amazing achievements for FTC
Guests at the open day heard about the FTC’s achievements in just over six months, including the development of enhanced hybrid vehicle level 2 and 3 programmes ready to be delivered; a Halfords Apprenticeship scheme; a modular home due to to be built to provide students with access to industry-leading training, a digital skills masterclass programme for students studying engineering programmes and a Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacturing Technician to launch in September.
Asa also described plans for the proposed New Technology Centre building and interior design.
Ambitions for Bradford transport
Alex Heard, senior transport planner at Bradford Council, discussed how the council was working with partners to tackle the climate emergency and reduce carbon emissions from transport. He said: “In West Yorkshire we have an ambition to reach net zero carbon by 2038. It’s important to diversify in terms of the approaches we take to achieve this.”
As well as the development of alternatives to car travel, such as cycling, e-bikes and e-scooters, Alex discussed schemes for the future such as the Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2. Asa added: “We need to make sure young people have the skills to work with those technologies moving forward.”
Mark Forshaw of Lucas Nuelle, which develops state of the art training systems and education equipment, and Chris Cotterill, UK Business Development Manager at The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and chair of the Sustainable Transport Hub, spoke about their respective organisations’ work in partnership with the college. This partnership aims to provide students with the latest electric vehicle training technology, so they can learn how to repair and maintain hybrid and electric vehicles.
Hyper-realistic training environment
This hyper-realistic training environment allows students and IMI-accredited Halfords Apprentices to develop their green energy skills safely.
Students Muhammad Uddin, Kingsley Domfeh, Max Skelding and Muhammad Sufyaan described their journeys through Bradford College.
Kingsley arrived at Bradford College in January 2020, after relocating from Liverpool and achieved a Level 1 Motor Vehicle qualification in July of that year. Having discovered his true passion for working on cars through the course, he moved onto a Level 2. He said: “Now that I have almost come to the end of my Level 2, due to the supportive staff and garage style setting I would like to continue onto a Level 3 Motor vehicle course at Bradford College.”
Kingsley is among students who have been chosen to attend a Halford work trial. He told the audience that he looks forward to bringing the attributes and skills he picked up at Bradford College, including time management, employability and communication skills, teamwork and self-confidence.
Muhamad Sufyaan added: “We are now learning about new and cleaner motor vehicles and this has really motivated me to work with these cars in the future.”
Halfords Apprenticeship Scheme
Halfords’ Apprenticeship Scheme has been running for more than 20 years and aims to address a shortage of skills in the UK. Working with 15 colleges across the UK, Halfords offers a two-year programme, through which students can gain a Level 3 qualification in motor vehicle maintenance. Andy Turbefield, Head of Quality at Halfords, said: “Many of our apprentices go on to be centre managers, regional general managers and even heads of department.”
Head of Construction and Engineering Greg O’Shea said: “Our young students leave us with qualifications that no other college will deliver. We’re excited about the future and the great thing is we’ve already started.”
Businesses across the region now have the chance to be a part of the Sustainable Transport Hub and help develop the sustainable transport workforce of the future. If you are an employer and would like to support this work, you can contact Greg O’Shea at G.OShea2@bradfordcollege.ac.uk