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Forgemasters showcase Yorkshire region at National Apprenticeships Awards

18 May 2011

Sheffield Forgemasters will represent Yorkshire and the Humber at the national finals of the Apprenticeships Awards after winning the Large Employer award at the regional heats.

Forgemasters took the Large Employer category for companies employing between 250 and 4,999 people at the regional awards presentation hosted at York College last night.

It was rewarded for its commitment to training its workforce; embedding a training culture into the company and offering a range of apprenticeship frameworks, training and development to provide measurable business benefits and act as a role model for other employers.

Former apprentice and now trainee methods engineer Guy Pedley was highly commended in the Advanced Apprentice of the Year award.

The Yorkshire and the Humber awards ceremony, hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), was one of nine regional heats for the National Apprenticeship Awards.

All winners will now go forward to the Oscar-style national awards in London on 29 June where the national winner and two highly commended awards will be announced.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL), said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be selected to represent Yorkshire and the Humber in these prestigious awards.

“The awards showcase some of the best businesses across Yorkshire and it is an honour to be amongst some of the greats, and to recognise Forgemasters as one of the leading organisations in our country and in the engineering field.

“We believe a return to traditional apprenticeships and their values is considered vital to the health of SFIL and to British industry.”

Forgemasters is currently training 64 apprentices from a total of 811 employees for roles in all departments across the company – just under 8 per cent of the workforce.

In 2010 more than 250 applicants applied for 30 vacancies challenging national statistics that apprenticeships are not sought after by young people.

More than £1m per annum is invested in apprenticeships training programme plus public sector grants resulting in a range of qualifications being achieved including NVQs, BTEC, City and Guilds, undergraduate/post graduate level, Phd’s and lifelong learning plus work-based key-skills learning programme.

In 2010, 22 apprentices started foundation degrees with local universities to achieve technician status

Nick Wilson, Director for the NAS in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This year’s awards were a terrific showcase of the outstanding wealth of Apprenticeship talent that we have across Yorkshire and the Humber. Given the volume and high calibre of entries we received, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners for this superb achievement.”

Apprenticeships offer young people a training route which combines work-based learning with theory and a recognised qualification, whilst employers experience a range of benefits when hiring an apprentice, including motivated, skilled staff and increased productivity. More than 37,000 people started Apprenticeships in Yorkshire and the Humber last year.

The National Apprenticeship Awards 2011 received a record number of applications with over 1,600 entries – an increase of over 25% on last year’s awards.

This year the NAS in partnership with City & Guilds is looking for England’s Top 100 Apprenticeship employers.  As well as the four employer category winners, the 24 best other employers in each category will be honoured in the Top 100 Apprenticeship employers list.

The Yorkshire and the Humber regional awards were sponsored by Incommunities, YH Training Services, NHS Yorkshire and the Humber and York College.