Apprenticeships vital to economic recovery
Undeterred by the global 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 Covid-19 lockdown begins to ease.
“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,” said Phil Longden, Operations Director at NE Components in Hope Valley, who took on an apprentice during the coronavirus outbreak.
His sentiments were shared by Managing Director of Sheffield-based Atlantic Pumps, Andy Smith, who 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’ve found the best way to get them is to invest in creating them ourselves, in partnership with the AMRC 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.”
The AMRC Training Centre responded quickly to the outbreak of Covid-19, suspending face-to-face teaching from Monday, March 16. Teaching swiftly went online, with tutors in constant contact with apprentices and extra support being offered by the University of Sheffield to help transition to online learning.
Anne Griggs, Head of Business Development and Contracts at the AMRC Training Centre, said: “It is fantastic to see new apprentices starting their journey to becoming engineers in March and shows the value employers place in the AMRC Training Centre and its apprenticeships, even in these uncertain times.
“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.
Phil 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.”
“Apprentices of this quality are vital to Atlantic Pumps,” said Andy. “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.”
Anne 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 website.