17 May, 2022

Engineering giant trains new talent

12 November, 2013

Sheffield Forgemasters has recruited a new group of apprentices to add to its specialist engineering workforce. The 200-year-old company continues to take a proactive role in putting crucial engineering skills back into the industry through its outstanding apprenticeship scheme.

SFIL will train 59 apprentices over the coming year – the majority in their third and fourth-years, but nine of which are new school and college graduates studying for specialist careers and roles in all departments across the 64-acre Brightside Lane site.
This year more than 200 people applied for nine vacancies, proving that apprenticeships are a sought after route for future employees. Due to high levels of demand and skills, the successful applicants were chosen through an assessment centre and a familiarisation visit as part of the interview process.
South Machine Shop apprentice machinist Joe MacDonald (17) from Doncaster, said: “I applied for the scheme because I love engineering and Forgemasters is a brilliant company. This is a great opportunity – the future could be amazing. I can’t believe I’ve got this chance.”
Professor Graham Honeyman, chief executive at SFIL, said: “Over the years, we have raised the profile of engineering as an important career choice. Consequently, we have huge interest and the calibre of students coming to serve apprenticeships at Forgemasters is rising every year.”
“We offer our apprentices a great opportunity to pursue rewarding careers with a forward thinking company.”
Forgemasters’ apprentices recently worked with a sculptor to create a huge scorpion from recycled material found on site. It was unveiled at the company gates in June 2013 by Olympian Nicola Adams.
Future success
Honeyman added: “Apprenticeships are vital to our future success. I believe that investing in the skills and knowledge of the workforce through apprenticeships helps us gain a competitive advantage in tough markets.
“We are committed to the ongoing development of all our apprentices and support them through every stage. They are encouraged to progress to whatever level they can achieve, including higher education and post graduate degrees.”
SFIL’s training programme offers a range of qualifications from NVQs, BTEC, City & Guilds to undergraduate/post graduate level including Phds, lifelong learning plus work-based key-skills learning programmes.
Apprenticeships have brought many business benefits to SFIL including addressing serious skills challenges. By increasing the skills and knowledge base of apprentices, SFIL is able to handle increasingly complex projects, resulting in stronger order books.
Apprentices have contributed to the organisation’s success and are engaged in refining work practices and control systems, in turn improving efficiency and productivity across the group.
This year for the first time SFIL has also joined forces with Tata Steel’s training centre in Stocksbridge and several of the apprentices will study full-time in its high-tech training centre for six months before going into Forgemasters.
Tony Goddard, senior training advisor, said: “Tata Steel has very similar processes to Forgemasters and lots of overlapping skills within the workforces, and so we are very happy to welcome SFIL apprentices to our centre.
“The apprentices are now familiarising themselves with our mechanical equipment and machine shop tools and in the next few months will work in smaller teams in their specialist areas.”
In addition to learning new skills through specific training modules, Forgemasters’ apprentices will learn from individually appointed mentors at its plant, many of whom have more than 30 years of industry experience and knowledge to pass on.
Photo caption: Rick Franckeiss, SFIL group training officer at SFIL, with apprentices (from left to right) Lewis Bellis, Joe MacDonald, Luke Carter, Martell Sterling, Joshua Dobson and Chris Ashley at Tata Steel.

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