20 May, 2024

HydraForce wins Large Employer of the Year and apprentice Ritik Sharma crowned Outstanding Apprentice of the Year at Ladder Awards

09 September, 2019

HydraForce Hydraulics Ltd has won awards in two categories at the recent Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship award ceremony held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. The company won Large Employer of the Year and their third-year apprentice, Ritik Sharma, was winner of Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for 2019.

The event saw Ritik Sharma triumph in the Engineering and Manufacturing apprentice category, sponsored by The Ladder Apprenticeship Foundation. “Winning the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for Engineering and Manufacturing award is an absolute honour,” said Sharma, who studies Mechanical Engineering. “It truly highlights the limitless possibilities available through the apprenticeship scheme offered by HydraForce. The support and training provided by the company has allowed me to continually grow as a professional and individual; and this award reinforces the idea that doing an apprenticeship is the best route to a successfully career in engineering.”

Sharma competed against three other Engineering & Manufacturing apprentices in the region, including fellow HydraForce Electrical & Electronic Control Engineering apprentice Joshua Lambden, who won the Runner-up award in this category:

“Firstly, I feel proud to have been shortlisted for the awards and am happy that I was able to achieve the Runner-up award,” said Lambden shortly after the ceremony, “I’m even happier and proud of my colleague Ritik Sharma, for winning the first of many awards to come. He is a well-deserved winner.”

The company, which produces hydraulic valves and manifold systems, also won the award for Large Employer of the Year for apprenticeships, sponsored by the West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

Hard work and commitment

Christine Tolley, head of human resources, accepted the award on behalf of the company. She commented: “HydraForce is thrilled that another of our apprentices has won an award - Ritik’s hard work and commitment is testament to his success. Better still, the business has also been recognised by Ladder for Birmingham for its Apprenticeship Scheme. We firmly believe that apprenticeship programmes add a great deal to any business and are pressing forward with our plans to expand beyond engineering into other areas to develop our workforce and help us remain competitive in the industry.”

HydraForce has taken apprentices since 2004 and was against three other employers from the Greater Birmingham region within its category, including West Midlands Ambulance Service and Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Ladder awards attracted over 100 applications this year and is part of the wider Ladder for Greater Birmingham campaign launched in 2018 to create 1000 new apprenticeships across Birmingham and Solihull.

HydraForce celebrated its 30th year in Birmingham last year, after first being established in Chicago, USA in 1985. The Birmingham site is the European headquarters of the business and is in its third factory since its establishment in Birmingham in 1988. It remains a privately-owned company with manufacturing facilities across the world, including Birmingham, North America, Brazil and a manifold assembly plant in Asia.

The company designs and manufactures high performance hydraulic fluid power cartridge valves, custom manifolds and electro-hydraulic controls. HydraForce’s four-year apprenticeship scheme has run since 2004 and sees the apprentices study at Birmingham Metropolitan College full-time for their first year. In their second year, apprentices work on-site at HydraForce in different areas of the business, with a day release to college to continue their studies. The current apprenticeship scheme gives the candidates the opportunity to achieve their BTEC, with the company sponsoring them to go onto either HNC or Foundation degree.

Image caption -  Ritik Sharma (left) and Joshua Lambden. Photo courtesy of BirminghamLive/Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards

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