Monday, April 13, 2015

News: Stafforce agency increases apprentices in manufacturing sector

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The Apprentice Employment Agency at fast growing national specialist recruiter, Stafforce, is teaming up with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to boost the manufacturing sector by offering alternative apprentice employment solutions to help address skill gaps and support future growth.

With a head office on Percy Street in Rotherham town centre and over 150 staff and a UK-wide network of 28 sites, Stafforce offers a range of services to clients through its Stafforce Recruitment and Nicholas Associates brands.

The academy was first launched in September 2012 to make it easier for businesses to benefit from having apprentices working as part of their team.

The AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham where the focus will be on 250 students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships with opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses. Part of the The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the centre has exceeded recruitment targets with the final group for 2014/15 arriving in mid-March, bringing the total for the preceding 12 months to 250 and raising the number of apprentices in full or part time training to 410.

For the past two years the agency has been working closely with the AMRC Training Centre to delivery apprentice employment support services for manufacturing businesses that are keen to take on an apprentice, but are unable to employ one directly for the duration of the apprenticeship programme.

Apprenticeship Training Academy (ATA) status means that Stafforce directly employs apprentices on behalf of clients, reducing businesses' risks and making the whole process of recruiting, developing and supporting an apprentice much more straightforward.

Alison Bettac, training director at The AMRC, said: "We have been working with the Apprentice Employment Agency to find alternative apprentice employment solutions for local companies that face skill gaps, but can't commit to recruiting an apprentice. The team have never disappointed us when it comes to delivering support tailored to each company's position and we have had great feedback from employers and apprentices alike."

Tata Steel has already benefited from the support. Wanting to bring apprentices into a new division they were starting up, but unable to increase its headcount, it approached the AMRC looking for a solution. The Apprentice Employment Agency has since employed and placed apprentices with TATA and feedback has been positive.

Jacqueline Lovewell, head of Apprentice Employment Agency, said: "Apprenticeships are great for businesses across all industry sectors in the UK. They help boost employment levels and local economies. We know, however, that not all employers are ready to take the risk and employ an apprentice. We are making it easier for employers to benefit from having apprentices working as part of their team.

"Having close linkages with the advanced manufacturing sector through our partnership with the AMRC, enables us to help place apprentices in an arena that is shouting out for qualified employees. We are already seeing businesses reap the benefits to be gained from being a host employer for apprentices."

In 2014 the agency employed over 350 apprentices across the UK and placed them with employers in different industries, including engineering, manufacturing, chemical processing and commercial. This year the figure is set to hit 500.

Stafforce website

Images: Nicholas Associates

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