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Forgemasters showcases training to BIS committee

02 March 2012

Sheffield Forgemasters will showcase its highly successful apprenticeship programme at the first ever Commons Select Committee evidence gathering session to be held outside London.

Representatives from Forgemasters will detail the company’s strategy for skills and education at the Business Innovation and Skills Committee session at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on Tuesday (March 6).

The aim of the inquiry, which will also be attended by Firth Rixson Ltd, Newburgh Engineering Co Ltd and AESSEAL, is to see how effective current apprenticeships policies are to employers, how effective funding is, and how the offering could be improved.

The inquiry follows a visit to Forgemasters on Monday (March 5) by the Committee to meet some of the 70 current SFIL apprentices and find out at first hand what makes the company’s apprenticeship scheme among the best in the UK.

Chairman of the BIS Committee Adrian Bailey said: “Employers like Sheffield Forgemasters International play a crucial role in boosting employment and growth for the whole of the UK. By offering apprenticeships, Forgemasters helps facilitate innovative and practical ways of providing a skilled workforce in the future.

“The committee is extremely interested in seeing this at first hand and is very keen to meet current apprentices in the company.”

SFIL invests £1million into its apprentice programme each year. Applicants range from 16 to 24 years and roles available include moulders/core-makers, maintenance fitters, metallurgists, welders, pattern makers, laboratory chemists and production engineers. 

Dr Graham Honeyman, Forgemasters chief executive, said: “Forgemasters has been running its highly acclaimed apprenticeship programme since the management buy-out in 2005. The programme allows us to grow our own pipeline of skilled workers – the lifeblood for future generations of middle and senior managers and increase the skills base.

“We ensure we have suitably trained employees by offering industry leading training in all areas of the business.

“And starting young means the company not only benefits from government funding but also can train apprentices in the ‘Forgemasters Way’.”

Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said: “As a local MP and member of the Business Select Committee, I’m delighted to have helped bring the Committee to Forgemasters as part of our apprenticeships inquiry.

“Sheffield companies like Forgemasters are at the forefront of training the next generation of skilled workers. They have invested in their apprenticeship programme and are reaping the rewards from it. I know that the Committee will be able to learn a lot from the visit.”

Last month, John Hayes MP, Minister for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), visited Forgemasters during National Apprenticeship Week.

A team of top BIS officials also visited SFIL last year as part of its work to expand the number of apprenticeships available across the country.

SFIL scooped the top prize of Large Employer of the Year at the prestigious annual National Apprenticeship Awards in 2011 and for the first time ever featured in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list in England.