Neil Burrows 18 12 18 Rcihard Tymon 8

The inspirational head of the Centre of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Excellence at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre, and its Apprenticeship training arm Themis, has reached the final of one of the UK’s top Engineering contests.

Neil Burrows, whose passion for Engineering has shaped the lives of students and Apprentices alike, has been name as one of the three national finalists in the Skills Champion category of the national SEMTA (the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) Awards.

He will travel to London in March to discover if he has been awarded the prestigious title in front of the top names from the industry, Government and the media. From hundreds of entries from across the UK, he has made the final three alongside Steve Pallas, of Nissan Motor Manufacturing, and Gareth Jenkins, FSG Tool and Die Ltd, the largest, privately-owned design and build tool-making company in Europe.

Neil said:

“It really is an honour to make the finals of this great contest and be recognised for my contribution to the Engineering industry over 20 years in the education and training sector.

“Engineering is my life and I’m passionate about passing on the skills and knowledge to a new generation of Engineers in an industry that is constantly evolving. I take pride in the successes of each and every student or Themis Apprentice who chooses Burnley College to give them the skills and knowledge to make a difference, whether they then go on to study university level qualifications or enjoy a successful career.

“I believe in giving every student and Apprentice the opportunity to build a future for themselves. That’s why I make sure our Tutors and Trainers are at the very top of their field, with expertise drawn from years in industry, and our facilities are second to none, constantly developing to ensure we have industry standard equipment and the latest technologies.”

Neil, from Blackburn, completed an Apprenticeship himself and worked as a Maintenance Engineer before moving into education and training. His previous roles have included Centre Manager for Training 2000 and International Apprenticeship Manager for the Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board, based in Abu Dabi, where he founded the United Arab Emirates Apprenticeship Programme.

Neil has developed the North West Engineering Advisory Board, gathering employers to outline the skills they look for in new Apprentices, and the successful Young Engineers Programme, open to students in Years 10 and 11, giving young people a taste of Engineering, led by Employers, experts in their field and current Themis Apprentices.

He has travelled the world to inspire and empower young people to always aim for the top and use their Engineering skills to change their lives and build successful careers. Even on holiday in America he visited the Boeing factory to bring his experiences and best-practice back to Burnley.

Karen Buchanan, Principal of Burnley College, said:

“Neil has touched the lives of so many of today’s top Engineers and helped them take the first step on the career ladder. They often tell us that, if it hadn’t been for Neil’s encouragement and belief, they would not have enjoyed the success they have.

“He keeps his finger on the pulse of the Engineering sector, constantly liaising with industry leaders to discover the skills and knowledge they need in their future workforce and ensuring that students at Burnley College and Themis Apprentices have these attributes which make them stand out from the crowd.

“Neil lives and breathes Engineering. His passion is infectious and he is a great role model for students and Apprentices alike who have chosen to play their part in making the North West Engineering sector one of the greatest in the UK.”

If you are passionate about Engineering, see where a course at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre or an Apprenticeship with Themis at Burnley College can take you, with the support of Neil and his team of experts. Find out more online at; email or call 01282 733333.



Photo: Neil Burrows, finalist in the SEMTA Skill Champion.


For more information on this press release please contact:

Sally Dahmke, Marketing Executive, Burnley College 01282 733264

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