• Award-winning city apprentice sets off on tour of Boeing’s world’s-biggest factory

    20 August 2015 - Award-winning Sheffield apprentice Russell Fox flies off to the United States for the trip of a lifetime this weekend (Sun August 23).

    Russell, 18, who lives in Atherton Road, Arbourthorne and works for Sheffield-based automotive tools specialist Eldon Tools, won the trip after being named the AMRC Training Centre’s Boeing Apprentice of the Year at an awards ceremony in March.

    He will spend a week in the United States, visiting Boeing’s main commercial aeroplanes plants in Seattle, Washington, where approximately 80,000 employees work to produce more than two planes each day for airline customers around the world. Russell’s visit will include Boeing’s Everett plant to see the assembly lines of the world’s most iconic aeroplanes such as the 737, 767, 777, 787 Dreamliner and 747 Jumbo Jet, the ‘Queen of the Skies.’ The world’s biggest building by volume, Everett has a floor area big enough for almost 200 football pitches, and creates its own climate conditions.

    Russell will also visit Seattle’s Museum of Flight, the largest private air and space museum in the world, with exhibits that include a simulator used to train Space Shuttle astronauts.

    Russell is also scheduled to visit one of Boeing’s fabrication facilities, which make a multitude of complex specialty components, including structural composites, as well as Boeing’s Renton factory, which built the largest aircraft operational during World War II, the B-29 Superfortress, and now assembles and delivers 42 Next-Generation Boeing 737 planes each month. Throughout his visit, Russell will meet with Boeing employees, including engineers, and he will find out what it is like to work for the world’s largest aerospace company, which has a large and growing presence in the UK too.

    Russell secured his Seattle trip prize at the inaugural Apprentice of the Year Awards organised by the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, where he also won the Barnsley College-sponsored Academic Achiever of the Year Award. He later went on to be named ‘Made in Sheffield’ Apprentice of the Year.

    Russell said: "I'm so grateful that my hard work and commitment throughout my apprenticeship has paid off.

    “Not only am I AMRC Boeing Apprentice of the year but I also managed to win the Made in Sheffield Apprentice of the Year. I can't wait for my trip to Seattle to visit Boeing and I'm mostly excited about seeing their Boeing's Everett Factory.

    “I've seen this on TV but to see this in real life will be a life time memory I will never forget- Just goes to show that hard work does pay off."

    Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing UK and Ireland, said that as Boeing continues to grow in the UK, “our need for talented engineers increases. So it is vital that facilities like the AMRC Training Centre continue to train apprentices, some of whom will go on to work for Boeing or one of our many UK supply chain companies. These apprentices will be part of the bright future of aerospace in the UK.”

    Russell’s employer, Eldon Tools, has praised his commitment, attitude towards his apprenticeship and his work ethic, while AMRC Training Centre trainers have described him as “a hardworking, conscientious and success-focused apprentice.”

    A spokesman for Eldon Tools, said: “Russell has got such an interest in what we do as a business. When he goes out with other people to test our tools and gets under the bonnet of a car, he knows exactly what he’s looking at and how it works, which is such a bonus.

    “He’s a real enthusiast about everything he does. He throws himself into every challenge. He’s a super guy.”


    Russell Fox secured success at the AMRC Training Centre Apprentice Awards after winning the praises of his employer and tutors at both the Training Centre and Barnsley College.

    His employer, Eldon Tools, said: “We could not wish for a more hardworking, dedicated and capable young man to be part of our business.”

    Russell started his apprenticeship in the company’s prototype cell, where no two products are the same and high level skills are required.

    While still learning he contributed to several projects including the development of a ball joint tool for the Land Rover Discovery, where he was involved in designing, manufacturing and testing the tool, making nine of its 17 components from scratch and performing well above what might be expected from a young apprentice.

    He was also involved in field testing Eldon’s products, adjusting drawings and components to perfect them, and won praise for his “great initiative” while working in its CNC cell, where he improved designs to make the manufacturing process easier.

    Mick Fairman, from the AMRC Training Centre, said: “Russell is a top guy. Everything about him is great.”

    In addition to learning practical skills as a mechanical manufacturing apprentice at the Centre, Russell was chosen to be an Ambassador for the centre’s open days, showing prospective employers and dignitaries around and explaining what the Centre was achieving through apprenticeships.

    He was also chosen to attend an annual meeting with the region's MPs at The Houses of Parliament, alongside the University of Sheffield’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett and Professor Keith Ridgeway, CBE, executive dean of the AMRC.

    Sir Keith Burnett said: "We met Russell when we were touring the AMRC Training Centre and were impressed at his ability to explain clearly what he was learning and how his growing skills contributed to the ability of a company to meet the needs of customers and increase productivity.”

    Russell won the Academic Achiever of the Year Award at the Training Centre Awards after achieving distinction in all the Technical Certificate examinations he took following studies at Barnsley College covering Health & Safety, Communications, Mathematics, Mechanical Principles and Engineering Drawing.

    Jon Barker, from the college described him as “an exemplary apprentice.”

    “A key element of Russell’s success is his determination,” said Mr Barker. “He has set himself a high target and will not settle for anything less.

    “He sets an example for others to follow. A hardworking, conscientious and success-focused apprentice.

    “A key element of Russell’s success is his determination. He has set himself a high target and will not settle for anything less.”

    About The AMRC Training Centre

    The University of Sheffield's pioneering apprenticeship training centre was established to provide the next generation of world leading engineers.

    The ground breaking 5,500 sq m centre was built with support from the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund and is based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, within the Sheffield and Rotherham Enterprise Zone, close to the AMRC with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC.

    It aims to create knowledge and manufacturing breakthroughs by equipping highly skilled workers who will go on to regenerate the UK’s manufacturing industry.

    The Centre opened its doors for the first class of 150 advanced apprentices in January 2014. Numbers have since risen to more than 400, including second year apprentices who spend one day each week at the Centre.

    Apprenticeships are available in six specialist fields: mechanical manufacturing, fabrication and welding, technical support, maintenance, electrical and electronics and business services. Training Centre apprentices can also go on to study for undergraduate and post graduate degrees.

    For more information, contact Bob Rae, AMRC Communications, Tel: 0114 2224784; Mob: 07710 11701; e-mail: b.rae@amrc.co.uk

    About Boeing

    Boeing employs more than 1,800 people across the UK at numerous sites, from Glasgow to Gosport, and the company is experiencing solid organic growth. In 2013 Boeing celebrated 75 years of partnership with the United Kingdom, its Armed Forces, British manufacturing and the air transport industry. Today the UK remains a critically important market, supplier base and a source of some of the world’s most inventive technology partners. The company sustains a total of more than 55,700 British jobs across the country, enhancing skills, facilitating exports and generating intellectual property.

    Boeing was the founding member of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which has become a world-class centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies and established the AMRC Training Centre.