Favourite Things: The city of yesterday, the generation of tomorrow

Wendy Miller, the Learning and Teaching Lead at the AMRC Training Centre.
Wendy Miller, the Learning and Teaching Lead at the AMRC Training Centre.

Wendy Miller is a born and bred ‘Sheffielder’ and lives in Frecheville, where she also went to school. She has two daughters who have both gone on to university and work in Sheffield.

In the 1970s Wendy became the first full-time female student to study engineering at Granville (now Sheffield) College.

Mystery Building - Kelham Island Museum.

Mystery Building - Kelham Island Museum.

Now over 30 years later, using the experience gained through a varied and challenging career in the engineering and manufacturing sector, she inspires the next generation of young engineers as a trainer and learning and teaching lead at the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre in Catcliffe.

The AMRC Training centre

It might seem strange for some to put their workplace as a favourite thing but I’m immensely proud of what we do at the AMRC Training Centre.

We provide opportunities for apprenticeships in manufacturing and engineering with local employers that puts Sheffield and surrounding areas on the map globally.

We’re based on the site of the former Orgreave coking plant, where the worst of the miners’ strike occurred and although mining is no longer, it is good to know people are being employed and widening opportunities.

Sheffield’s history

I think it’s wonderful how the city’s rich history can be discovered through the great recreational facilities we have, such as the Botanical Gardens, Weston Park Museum, Kelham Island Museum to name a few which bring to life Sheffield in bygone times.

They let you imagine how people used to live and work and show us how lucky we are today. My grandma was born in 1896 and worked as serving staff at Dam House until she married (she was not allowed to work there when she married).

Working life has changed so much, technology, safety and equality.

Division Street, West Street and Glossop Road

A great place to be entertained with music, food and good beers.

Pubs that my parents visited including the Green Room which is on Broomhall Street where both my mum and I were born in the back to back housing.

Visiting the City Hall to see bands and where my parents would meet for the dances.

Hearing stories of my grandad walking my mum home keeping a decent distance (even at 18-21) whilst she walked home with friends.

Times so different from social media, where people talked face to face and enjoyed their innocence.

Sheffield voices

Hearing Sheffield people talking, the dialect  – eh up, the broad Yorkshire accent that I cannot shake off nor would want to ‘ge or’ speaking like.

Henderson’s relish

Henderson’s Relish (Hendos) which knocks the socks off Lea and Perrins or Worcester Sauce.

Many a time sat in the Castle Market with a plate of chips covered in Hendos as a treat with my mum or grandma.

I doubt that would rate as a treat nowadays – apart from the designer label.

Women of Steel

Women of Steel statue, those who proved that women can do anything despite adversity and who have finally been recognised for their efforts during wartime.

Typical Sheffield women who are strong in the arm and strong in the head.

Real Yorkshire grit and role models to younger girls, people like my mum and grandmas who did not have a lot but gave a lot – especially to their families.

The Diamond engineering building

The Diamond Centre run by the university is not only on the site of the old Jessops Hospital, where my two lovely daughters were born, but it epitomises how Sheffield has changed, how it welcomes people of all nationalities, how engineering and technology (a passion of mine) is changing lives too.

Seeing apprentices enter a building to study a degree that would have been out of their reach without the route available to them.

As part of the university’s heritage as a civic university, seeing the penny contribution that my grandad as a hafter in the cutlery trade probably made a hundred years ago contribute to something of real value to benefit the city and economy.