JCB educates academy students

Uploaded 16 Mar @ 15:37pm

Almost a decade ago, JCB Chief Executive Officer, Lord Anthony Bamford, had a vision for educating the next generation of engineers, establishing The JCB Academy in 2010. Recognised as the first of a new kind of school in the UK, The JCB Academy has a core focus on delivering high-quality engineering and business education. To ensure education is vocationally suitable for future generations of engineers, it is supported by metrology experts Mitutoyo.

Learners at The JCB Academy commence studies from Year 9 (13 years old) and undertake the full educational curriculum of GSCE and A-level subjects through to foundation degrees, with additional engineering and business disciplines being part of The JCB Academy ethos. The growth of the academy since its inception has seen school-aged learner numbers increase to over 400.
In 2013, the academy expanded its scope, opening the doors to accept its first intake of apprentices. Since then apprentice numbers have grown from an annual intake of 40 to over 140 apprentices in 2017. Apprenticeships at the academy are available in welding & fabrication, engineering and business operations. To accommodate this growth, Lord Bamford opened a £1.2 million apprentice training centre in 2017. This state-of-the-art facility incorporates a metrology department that is fully supported by Mitutoyo and is now recognised as a Mitutoyo Satellite Centre.
Sponsored by JCB, the academy has core challenge partners that include Bentley Motors, Network Rail and Rolls-Royce. Each of these companies contributes to developing the unique curriculum and learning techniques. To deliver the curriculum, the JCB Academy has employed academic specialists with an established industrial background. Pivotal to the installation of Mitutoyo metrology and inspection equipment was Graham Rowley, the Team Leader for Technical Delivery.
With over 24 years industrial experience prior to working in academia, Graham Rowley says: “JCB realised that to develop the engineers of tomorrow, the company needed a state-of-the-art training facility with experienced staff and cutting-edge technology. I was personally tasked with identifying the inspection equipment that would best serve our learners and prepare them for a future in engineering. It was recognised that inspection and metrology are core subjects for all engineering disciplines, so we set about configuring a metrology department that would be both suitable for our learners and relevant for industry.
“Throughout my working life, Mitutoyo has always played a large role in the metrology equipment used; always delivering precise and reliable equipment with service and support that has always been first class. All this still rings true today.”
Regaling this memory of Mitutoyo, Graham Rowley continues: “We went to a number of suppliers for quotes and Mitutoyo stood out for a number of reasons. First, the company was more engaged with our needs. It was suggested that if we invested in a slightly different area of kit, we could deliver this new stand-alone metrology department. We altered our order accordingly and went with Mitutoyo’s suggestions. We are now going to be one of Mitutoyo’s satellite centres.”
The metrology department now allows The JCB Academy to deliver this tailored metrology and inspection training resource to all the companies it provides apprentice training for. So, whether its apprentices from JCB, Continental Tyres, Toyota, Michelin, Bosch Rexroth, Bri-Stor System, Alpha Manufacturing, Rolls- Royce or any other company in the region, The JCB Academy delivers bespoke, relevant, captivating and accredited inspection training that encompasses both practical and theoretical studies that are above-all, relevant to industry.
“We had a set of requirements that we discussed with Mitutoyo and our specifications were very similar to its training kits. In fact, the Mitutoyo Student Kits and Tutor Kits allow us to deliver in-house training and also on-site training with our partners. With the kits, we can take the main bulk of equipment with small tools to our learners and they can use the equipment required for the specific measurement tasks undertaken. With learners understanding the choices of tools available, they can reduce time wasting in the field and ensure inspection is conducted correctly,” continues Graham Rowley.
The Student Kits include a 0-25 mm micrometer, a 0-25 mm digital micrometer, three 0-150 mm vernier callipers that include a vernier scale calliper, a dial calliper and a digital calliper. Also included in the Student Kit is a 150 mm rule and an aluminium test piece. In contrast, the two Tutor Kits supplied cover a more diverse spectrum of inspection and calibration equipment. One Tutor Kit includes three 200 mm vernier scale height gauges, three universal bevel protractors, a gauge block set and centre finders. The second Tutor Kit has three digital height gauges, two DTIs, a 3-4 inch digital micrometer, an 80 to 100 mm internal bore micrometer and six test pieces.
Both are supplied in protective carry-cases that eliminate the potential for damage during transportation. The JCB Academy has four student carry-cases and two tutor cases; each student case is filled with six individual Student Kits.
The centrepiece of the metrology department at The JCB Academy is a Crysta-Plus M443 co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) that is connected to a 60 inch wall mounted monitor. The manual Crysta-Plus CMM with temperature compensation offers the academy everything from simple dimensional to complex form measurement on a small footprint 400 by 400 mm table. Using the very latest MCOSMOS CMM software, learners can evaluate the dimensional precision of components and test pieces. By connecting the CMM to a large monitor, teaching staff can conduct practical demonstrations to learners in the classroom environment.
The vision of Lord Bamford is certainly starting to pay dividends for the future of UK manufacturing and in particular the future of JCB. As Graham Rowley states: “As a company; JCB has thousands of employees and there is natural staff wastage of approximately 350 people every year through retirement and other factors. The academy is now generating future recruits while giving the prospective employees a strong grounding in engineering.”

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