Apprentices address shortfall

Sheffield Forgemasters has taken on 32 apprentices, bringing the number of trainees at the South Yorkshire company to 70, representing 10 per cent of its total workforce.


Forgemasters will train the 70 apprentices over the coming year.


The majority are in their second, third and fourth years, but 32 are school and college graduates studying for specialist careers and roles in all departments across the company’s

Brightside Lane
site.


Dr Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Forgemasters, said: ‘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.


‘A lot of employers don’t see the value of this long-term commitment to skills training but it is absolutely essential that companies see this.


‘In today’s global market we need to have a highly competitive workforce.


‘We face growing competition in our industry from countries such as China and India who can undercut us in labour costs, but it’s in the high-quality, added value areas that we can make a difference.’


Forgemasters has worked with Semta, the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, and Metskill, which forms part of the Semta Group, to recruit and train the new apprentice intake.


Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, said: ‘The engineering and manufacturing sector employs a workforce of two million people in the UK and contributes 40 per cent of UK exports [£137bn per annum].


‘According to research by Semta, skills vacancies in the sector are costing the economy £823m per year.’


 


He added: ‘Moreover, between now and 2014, thanks to the retiring of skilled technicians of the baby boomer generation, engineering companies will have a net shortfall of more than 230,000 jobs.


 


‘Increasing numbers of apprenticeships is a key part of the solution.’