Academy president visits Sheffield Forgemasters

PRESIDENT of the Royal Academy of Engineering Sir John Parker visited Sheffield Forgemasters and praised the company as a centre for technology and innovation.

Sir John and his colleagues, Sarah Philbrick, Director of Development and Dr Chris Coulter, Fellowship Manager, toured Sheffield Forgemasters for the first time to look around the 200-year-old steelworks, led by operations director Mark Tomlinson and chairman Tony Pedder.

They met with management to discuss the company’s combined strategies for skills, employment and high-tech manufacture.

Sir John praised Forgemasters’ approach to leading the field in such a difficult market and acknowledged the steps its management has taken to show how exceptional engineering can help drive UK plc, contribute to economic growth and establish world leading products and skills.

Academy President Sir John Parker said: “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to tour this iconic plant and look at the work being done here. Sheffield Forgemasters is a hugely important manufacturer working at the leading edge of its industry.

“It is exciting to see such impressive technology and innovation being developed on this scale, here in the UK. The scale and quality of the products being developed at Forgemasters is outstanding.

“If UK industry is to compete in a global context we need to focus even harder on our own, long-standing comparative advantage - engineering innovation. Companies like Forgemasters are leading the charge.”

During the visit, the Academy President met some of the 800 employees and young apprentices that work at the 63-acre site, and discussed the manufacturing sector as a whole and the history of Forgemasters.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ chief executive Graham Honeyman is a fellow of the academy and received a silver medal for his outstanding contribution to British engineering in 1998.

Tony Pedder added: “We were delighted to hold this visit for the Academy President and provide an insight into the strategies of Sheffield Forgemasters as a world leader.

“The underlying strength of what we have achieved at Forgemasters is down to our commitment to diversity.

“We are not dependent on one area of manufacturing and that has allowed us to secure the company’s future and face these times of market adversity in a healthy position.

“Sir John showed a real interest in our business strategy and apprenticeship scheme.”