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Apprenticeships vital to economic recovery

Posted on 21 May 2020 and read 234 times
Apprenticeships vital to economic recoveryUndeterred by the global coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers across the Sheffield City Region and beyond are recruiting ‘vital’ apprentices through the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre as they prepare to hit the ground running as the lockdown begins to ease.

Phil Longden, operations director at NE Components in Hope Valley, who has just taken on an apprentice, said: “Things may be uncertain but we do need to maintain skill levels now and looking to the future, so continuing with an apprentice programme is incredibly important.”

His sentiments were shared by Andy Smith, managing director of Sheffield-based Atlantic Pumps. He said: “Business is down but there is still a huge amount to do, supporting our clients in protecting their assets and helping them to fulfil obligations. We wanted to take on a new apprentice now because, ultimately, we believe in both our future and the future of apprentices.

“Our business relies on having quality engineers with a great attitude for customer care. These are in short supply and we have found the best way to get them is to invest in creating them ourselves, in partnership with the ARMC Training Centre. It isn’t a quick fix though, so we have gone ahead, knowing that if we want this resource for 2021 and beyond, we have to invest now.”

On-line learning

The AMRC Training Centre responded quickly to the outbreak of Covid-19, suspending face-to-face teaching from 16 March and taking teaching on-line, with tutors in constant contact with apprentices and extra support being offered by the University of Sheffield to help transition to on-line learning.

Anne Griggs, head of business development and contracts at the AMRC Training Centre, said: “The training centre moved quickly to ensure teaching has continued throughout the lockdown period and that is thanks to the hard work and flexibility of our teaching staff, apprentices and their employers.

“The AMRC Training Centre is still open for business. Our meetings are now being held via video link and we are still processing new applications for apprenticeships.”

Apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre have access to ‘state of the art’ facilities and are taught by trainers with an innovative approach to the delivery of advanced manufacturing apprenticeships. The curriculum is carefully designed with employers in mind and in 2019 the first cohort of apprentices graduated with degrees from the University of Sheffield.

Recent official figures show the AMRC Training Centre is top of the regional league table for engineering apprentice achievement.

Mr Longden said it is the high standards expected of every apprentice that keeps NE Components coming back to the AMRC Training Centre: “The AMRC Training Centre provides an excellent grounding for apprentices and prepares them to hit the ground running when they enter the workplace full time. When looking to recruit, there is always a good selection of high-calibre candidates.”

Mr Smith said: “Apprentices of this quality are vital to Atlantic Pumps. A great attitude to customer care along with great engineering skills is the core and foundation of our business and, sadly, there just aren’t a lot of people looking for jobs who bring both of those attributes.

“With the AMRC Training Centre, we can recruit the right attitude and rely on the training centre teaching the skills to create a powerful mix and provide exactly what our customers need.”

Ms Griggs added: “When the government decides we are able to return to our workplaces and go back to some form of normality, focus will turn to economic recovery. A skilled UK workforce will be a key ingredient for that and apprentices have an essential part to play.”

There are more details on how the AMRC Training Centre is responding to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the very latest information, on a dedicated section of our Web site. For more information on how to apply for an apprenticeship at the AMRC Training Centre, click here.