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Forgemasters' apprentice is region's best

09 December 2009

A Sheffield Forgemasters' apprentice has won the right to represent the region in the final of the EEF Future Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year award.

Sean Whelan, 20, won the prestigious award for the North East at a ceremony at Magna Science and Adventure Centre, Rotherham, to celebrate the region's best future manufacturers.

Sean, who began his apprenticeship with Forgemasters in June 2007, will now compete against winners from across the country at the national final at The Dorchester, London, on February 3.

After leaving 6th form, Sean decided on an apprenticeship at Forgemasters and the path has allowed him to take the lead on a number of tasks within the metallurgical department and melt shop, including taking technical ownership of a key product line.

During his apprenticeship, Sean has studied for a BTEC NC in Manufacturing Engineering (Metallurgy) at Rotherham College and his short term aims are to qualify at degree level after studying for a Foundation Degree in Materials Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. Within Forgemasters, Sean hopes to become technical manager in his department.

Sean, one of over 70 apprentices who benefit from Forgemaster's extensive training programme, said: "I had hoped when starting the apprenticeship scheme that I would learn valuable knowledge which I would be able to apply throughout my career and not just gain qualifications as stepping-stones to further education.

"This is exactly what I have done over the last two years. I have applied the knowledge gained at college within the working environment and expanded my understanding in an advancing and specific subject matter.  

"I am thrilled to have been recognised by Sheffield Forgemasters as contributing to problem solving and high quality product manufacture in the Melting department, and I hope to apply my knowledge in the engineering sector for years to come within the company."

Mark Tomlinson, melt shop operations director, said: "The progress Sean has shown is credit to both his own abilities and to the first class training he has received.

"I have every confidence that the drive and intelligence he has demonstrated so far will carry him through to become an increasingly valuable member of our metallurgical team."

The Future Manufacturing Awards, which were launched this year by EEF, have been established to celebrate enterprise, innovation, environmental performance and skills development among UK manufacturers.