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December

Forgemasters’ apprentices search now on

20 December 2016

Sheffield Forgemasters’ investment in future generations of employees will see the recruitment of 14 new apprentices in early 2017.

The company, which produces castings and forgings for suppliers to the engineering, nuclear, and process industries, has launched its search for suitable candidates to start in the first quarter of next year.  

Its award winning, four-year apprenticeship programme has earned plaudits from education, training and sector experts and sees the company commit to a £1m training framework for its specialist staff.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive, said: “In these somewhat uncertain and challenging times for the sector, this is a very encouraging and positive announcement, both for our business and the steel, manufacturing and engineering sectors as a whole.

“The introduction of an Apprentice Levy in April 2017 will not affect our policy on recruiting and training apprentices, which we see as vital to the future of this business.

“We offer our apprentices a great opportunity to pursue rewarding careers with a forward thinking company that they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to embrace.

“Over the years, we have visited schools and have hosted visits from schools all over the country to explain what we do here and to raise the profile of engineering as an important career choice. 

“Consequently, we will expect a huge amount of interest in these positions.

“It is likely that the position will be reviewed again later in 2017 with potentially another intake later in the 2017 year or early 2018.”

Apprentice vacancies will come from across the departments at the 64-acre site and include two mechanical engineers; two electrical engineers; a human resources and administration apprentice; five machinists; three moulder/coremakers and one patternmaker.

Forgemasters prides itself on offering long term careers for school and college graduates and has had up to 70 apprentices – more than 10% of the 640-strong workforce – training at one time, in previous years.

The company has recruited 103 apprentices since 2007 with the scheme boasting a 92 per cent retention rate. Every apprentice that has graduated has been offered a full time permanent job. 

Its last intake was September 2014 and it currently has 22 apprentices on the books. Most apprentices complete a four-year or an 'extended' apprenticeship, resulting in an Advanced Apprenticeship Level 3 Certificate or a foundation degree.

The company's current average employee age - 43 - has been reduced by eight years thanks to the launch of its apprenticeship programme in 2005.

The programme is backed by industry through providers including the Sheffield College, The Skills Academy for Manufacturing, the Tata Steel Academy and other local colleges, and is also validated by the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Year one normally comprises a six-month block of training at the Tata Steel Academy, also in Sheffield, followed by a six-month stint at the Forgemasters' site in the melt shop, foundry, forge or machine shop. 

During the second year, apprentices receive intensive training and one-to-one mentoring on-site for four days a week, spending the remaining day at college. Year three sees completion of a vocational qualification at work and possibly the start of a certificate or foundation degree, which is completed during day-release in year four or five.

Forgemasters also prides itself on senior management coming up through this programme. Gareth Barker, who started with the firm as an 18-year-old apprentice engineer, has risen up the ranks to become group operations director.

 

The scheme and its apprentices have won numerous awards including apprenticeship of the year in the NEI Nuclear Training Awards, Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and City & Guilds and the National Apprenticeship Awards Large Employer Award.

 

Apprentices need to be aged between 16 and 19 years of age at registration and apply through Sheffield College. Cut-off date for applications is 27 January 2017.