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About OAS

Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) offers high quality training for apprentice engineers and technicians at technology businesses in the Thames Valley.

We offer training for the Level 3 Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Standard

This qualification has been designed by employers to give the technical and practical knowledge required to work in the engineering sector. It opens up a world of opportunities in this exciting career, including many here in Oxfordshire – one of the UK’s hi-tech hotspots. This year we will welcome the first cohort to begin and complete OAS’s Level 4 Engineering Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship delivered by our training provider and partner, MTC Apprenticeships. The qualification, delivered over 30 months on a block release basis to provide full flexibility for the learner and employer, will provide learners with extensive knowledge and the specialist skills required to fulfil roles within engineering with a higher level of responsibility.

The aim of OAS is to benefit both employers and the apprentices being trained

  • Working with employers to meet their specific training needs;
  • Training work-ready apprentices with the competencies expected in the workplace;
  • Offering an employer-led, value for money training programme;
  • Providing technicians to build regional and UK economic growth.

Located at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon, OAS is a partnership between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Science & Technology Facilities Council. The two organisations have a history of apprentice training in science and engineering stretching back more than 70 years. Our new centre, opened in September 2019, is managed by our apprentice training partner MTC Apprenticeships. MTC’s Advanced Engineering apprenticeship helps learners develop the skills needed for delivering the technologies of the future in the high value manufacturing sector.

Phase 1

Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) opened in a newly-fitted building at Culham in September 2016. The first intake of apprentices received training on a range of the latest equipment by then training provider, JTL. Apprentices received training on a suite of high quality equipment used in the hi-tech industrial sector.

Phase 2

The purpose-built OAS Training Centre opened in September 2019, run by training provider MTC Apprenticeships, has the capacity to train up to 350 apprentices per year. The 3,800 square metre building contains labs and workshops specifically designed for training in engineering disciplines including mechanical, electrical, robotics and PLCs, vacuum, cryogenics, fluids and control & instrumentation. OAS worked closely with local businesses to ensure the new building’s capabilities met their needs.

Phase 3

OAS ‘Phase 3’ will cover an extra five key industrial sectors as well as broadening the available training to qualification levels 4 to 8 and a state-of-the-art extension at the current OAS Training Centre. With a total investment in excess of £30 million, the developments will deliver even more high-quality training in some of the most strategically important sectors to the UK economy. When it is complete, OAS Phase 3 will create a further 120 technicians, engineers and scientist every year, each with the highly sought-after skills that the businesses need to drive innovation and progress.

Culham Science Centre

Oxfordshire Advanced Skills is based at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon.

Culham Science Centre is a key location for hi-tech innovation and enterprise in Oxfordshire, employing approximately 2,000 people. It is home to world-class energy research at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the UK’s national fusion lab. It also hosts around 40 businesses in areas including aerospace, battery technology, autonomous vehicles and biotechnology.

Culham Science Centre is owned and managed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which has recently opened new robotics and materials research centres alongside its fusion research lab. Oxfordshire Advanced Skills is the latest development for the site and there are exciting plans for more new buildings to substantially increase commercial activity at Culham.

Visit the Culham Science Centre website to find out more.