Inspirational Burnley College tutor shortlisted for top award

Neil Burrows
Neil Burrows

An 'inspirational' Burnley College tutor 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 later this month to discover if he has been awarded the prestigious title in front of the top names from the industry, Government and the media.

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 every student or Themis apprentice who chooses Burnley College to give them the skills and knowledge to make a difference.”

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.”