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National apprenticeship award honour for Forgemasters

30 June 2011

Sheffield Forgemasters scoops Large Employer of the Year at the prestigious annual National Apprenticeship Awards 2011.

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd scooped the top prize of BAE Systems Award for Large Employer of the Year at the prestigious annual National Apprenticeship Awards 2011.

Forgemasters was presented with its award by Rowland Cooper, HR Director for BAE Systems at a ceremony in London with other winners from across the country.

The company currently employs more than 64 apprentices in areas such as engineering, industrial applications and metal processing.

Organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, and hosted by Claire Young, the awards celebrate the achievements of apprentices and the businesses that employ them.

Nick Wilson from the National Apprenticeship Service said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards was a fantastic evening of celebration for individual apprentices, employers and the wider apprenticeship community. I congratulate all the talented winners and finalists who had such strong stories to tell.

“Apprenticeships bring so many benefits, including increased productivity, lower staff turnover, loyal employees and increased efficiency in a business – all those at the awards can give testament to this.

“All the finalists demonstrated what makes apprenticeships so successful, not only in Yorkshire and the Humber but throughout England. The winners are now ambassadors for apprenticeships and for the region’s dedication to this programme.”

SFIL believes that investing in the skills and knowledge of its workforce through apprenticeships will help gain a competitive advantage in tough markets.

Graham Honeyman, SFIL chief executive, who collected the award, said: “We believe that apprenticeships and their values are vital to the health of our company and British industry. Our invested knowledge is one reason why we remain competitive and win global contracts”.

SFIL has continued to investment over £1m a year in the training and development of its staff with many apprentices going onto further qualifications and long term careers. Its apprentices are offered a wide range of qualifications levels and progression routes.

“We are committed to the ongoing development of all our apprentices and support them through every stage. They are encouraged to progress to whatever level they can achieve, including higher education and post graduate degrees,” said Graham.

Apprenticeships have brought many business benefits to SFIL including addressing serious skills challenges. By increasing the skills and knowledge base of apprentices, SFIL is able to handle increasingly complex projects, resulting in stronger order books.

Apprentices have contributed to the organisation’s success and are engaged in refining work practices and control systems, in turn improving efficiency and productivity across the group.

The recruitment of apprenticeships continues to attract large numbers of applicants. In 2010 more than 250 people applied for 30 vacancies, proving that apprenticeships are a sought after route for future employees.

Graham added: “Apprentices are the lifeblood of our business and we see apprenticeships as vital to our future success. Investing in staff development and creating opportunities for workers also significantly benefits the local economy.”