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Cambridge Regional College apprentice is world class!

An apprentice with Cambridge Regional College, who makes blades for jet engines in airplanes, has proved he is world class by competing at a prestigious national contest.

Elliot Reed battled students from across the UK at the World Skills contest at the NEC in Birmingham.

The 25 year old, based at Cambridge University laboratories, competed  alongside seven other students in his category of milling.

They had seven hours to turn a complex drawing into a milled 3D model made of steel or wood, with the help of computer aided design technology.

Other areas in which students went head to head in a skill display included construction, hairdressing, engineering and fashion design.

“In milling you have to be dexterous and precise,” Elliot said. “We can cut to within 0.01mm precision with the machinery and in this contest that is crucial.”

Elliot works at the Whittle Laboratory of Cambridge University where he is involved in the highly complex work of manufacturing blades for jet engines and turbines to improve aerodynamics on airplanes.

His work at the laboratory is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of power generation and aviation.

Elliot spends one day a week studying at Cambridge Regional College (CRC) and the rest of his week working as a laboratory technician for students and research graduates at Cambridge University, providing technical support to learners.

He has been on the apprenticeship programme with CRC for six years where he has worked his way up to an advanced Higher National Diploma level, alongside honing his skills in the university workshops.

“I love my job, love making stuff and enjoy the satisfaction of a completed task. Being an apprentice means that college and work supports each other. The hands-on learning also means I have picked up tips and techniques from colleagues.

Elliot, a former Swavesey Village College student, said he enjoyed the World Skills challenge as a great opportunity to showcase his talent.

The work carried out at Whittle laboratory at Cambridge University is designed to have real-world impact. It offers world-leading research to improve the aero-thermal performance of turbomachines. 

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