Industry Recognition for Sheffield Forgemasters Nuclear Training

Sheffield Forgemasters' apprenticeship programme is one of just five training courses in the world to be recognised in the first annual NEI Nuclear Training Awards.

Sheffield Forgemasters won Apprenticeship of the Year with judges praising the programme’s high staff retention rate of 85% and the level of interest that runs through the company, right up to board level.

The engineering giant, which designs and manufactures large-scale bespoke steel forgings, castings and components in diverse industries such as nuclear power generation, oil and gas exploration and defence, is currently training 50 apprentices from a total of 743 employees for roles in all departments across the company – around 7 per cent of the workforce.

The awards, organised by Nuclear Engineering International magazine, attracted entries from some of the best nuclear training and education courses globally including from nuclear power plants, fuel cycle facilities, associations, private training courses, universities, utilities, vendors and research centres.

Forgemasters chief executive Graham Honeyman said: "Sheffield Forgemasters has invested heavily in training and apprenticeships and we pride ourselves as having one of the best schemes in the country.

"The fact that we have been acknowledged globally and within the nuclear industry, which is a key market, for us, is testament to the calibre of the scheme and the students we choose."

Winners were picked from an elite shortlisted group, with judges praising the high standard of entries.

Judge David Whitmore, Atkins engineering and technical director, said: "Forgemasters operates an excellent company training programme for a wide range of skills. There is innovative training with the sector skills council and other providers.

“There is evidence of senior management coming through this programme."

A notable example of Forgemasters apprenticeship success is Gareth Barker who started with the firm as an 18-year-old apprentice engineer, and has risen up the ranks to become managing director of the forgings division, with responsibility for 450 staff.

The cross-industry panel of judges included Jacques Regaldo, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators; David Whitmore, Atkins global engineering and technical director; Ronald Knief, Sandia National Laboratories TA-V Nuclear Facility training co-ordinator & nuclear criticality safety engineer; Ulrik von Estorff, operating agent, European Human Resources Observatory for the Nuclear Energy Sector, EC JRC, Institute for Energy; and James Varley, group managing editor, Global Trade Media.