Former Airbus head of research for the UK, Colin Sirett has joined the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) as its Chief Executive Officer.

“Moving here really has been a privilege and an honour,” said Sirett, who, to the annoyance of his teachers, left school at 16 for an apprenticeship, rather than take A-Levels and, more recently, chose the Sheffield region in preference to southern France for his new workplace.

“I liked the idea of earning money and I had heard that you stood a chance that one of the local companies would sponsor you through a degree,” explains Sirett, who has an engineering degree from Aston and an MBA from Bath.

“This country lost its way when it started forcing young people to go straight to university, which is why what is happening now at the AMRC Training Centre is so massively important. Just look at who is at the helm of many of the UK’s leading engineering companies and you will find many former apprentices who gained qualifications while they were at work.”

An apprenticeship obviously proved successful for Colin Sirett. But why pass up on a possible move to Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, with the attractions of weekends skiing in the Pyrenees or sunbathing by the Mediterranean, the cuisine of the Haute-Garonne and the wines of Languedoc and Armagnac?

The attraction for Colin Sirett is the potential he sees at the AMRC.
“The AMRC can not only drive technological development, it can also translate it into production technology that can go straight onto the shop floor at companies around the world – and that, I believe, makes the AMRC quite unique,” says Sirett.

“The organisation has grown significantly and there is plenty of scope for further growth.

“It would be all too easy to say things are going fine, let’s keep things as they are and just tick over – but that’s not in the nature of anyone at the AMRC.

“Everyone wants to push hard and that means there will be further growth, but it cannot be unconstrained, it has to be managed. That’s my key role; making sure we face up to the challenges of growth and turn the organisation into a strong business for the future and a business that can keep on growing.”