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Sheffield Forgemasters backs youngsters' passport to work

09 February 2010

Sheffield Forgemasters is backing a new initiative designed to enthuse schoolchildren about a career in engineering and create a generation of apprentices for the industry.

The Passport to Work programme, which is led by several prominent industrialists, aims to improve the standard of work experience for pupils seeking a career in engineering and manufacturing. It is anticipated the scheme will give pupils a better grounding in the basic skills needed to train as apprentices.

Supported by Business & Education South Yorkshire, the Industrial Trust, the National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC) and Sheffield City Council, the venture also aims to show schoolchildren that University is not the only route to a degree.

Up to 300 pupils from the age of 13 will be targeted by the pilot Passport to Work programme – at a crucial time when they are making important decisions about which GCSEs to study.

Forgemasters, which boasts one of the highest proportions of apprentices in the country with 73 among its 800 employees, is handing its full support to the scheme.

Dr Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Forgemasters, said: “The industry is moving forward but it needs to seriously invest in young talent in order to sustain that progression.

“Manufacturing is a career young people are interested in – we had 300 applicants for 30 apprenticeships last year. But companies do need to make more effort to inspire apprentices.

“It’s important to give apprentices a realistic experience of the industry and it’s up to employers to make that experience as interesting as possible.”

For more information about the Passport to Work programme, contact Business & Education South Yorkshire, on 01709 336700 or e-mail