Friday, January 15, 2016

News: Apprenticeship boost for manufacturing SMEs

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The AMRC Training Centre's is launching its new "Flexible Apprenticeship Programme" that is tailored exclusively to meet the needs of small businesses.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the £20.5m centre focuses on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Part of the The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, apprentices have opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies.

Working in association with Sheffield Business Park and AMP developers Harworth Estates, the AMRC Training Centre will offer eight places on the new programme part-funded for the first year. These places will be awarded to business start-ups and small employers who have not recruited an apprentice within the last 12 months.

Delivering the same high-quality training as the established full-time 25 week model, the apprentices participating will receive intensive masterclasses staggered over a period of 16 weeks; designed to get them work-ready within a business as quickly as possible. Both these models are open to all small businesses in the region.

Harworth Estates and Sheffield Business Park won the £15,000 Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award and the prize money has been matched to create a £30,000 fund to enable local young people that are not in education, employment or training, to get apprenticeships with local advanced manufacturers and a place at the AMRC Training Centre.

Daniel Swift, programme manager at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "From the very beginning the apprentices will be contributing to a businesss growth and performance, as the new flexible programme allows apprentices to be with their employer for several weeks at a time in between training.

Iain Thomson, partnerships manager at Harworth Estates, add: "Developing future talent for small businesses is the only way we'll achieve sustainable economic growth for the region and both Harworth Estates and Sheffield Business Park are delighted with the programme that the AMRC Training Centre has developed for this purpose."

The AMRC Training Centre takes 250 advanced apprentices a year and is currently providing training for more than 350 first and second year apprentices and hopes to significantly increase that number with further Government backing.

The centre is starting to recruit apprentices for the March 2016 intake and as part of the recruitment drive, an apprenticeship open event is taking place from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Tuesday January 19, which will offer young people who are considering an apprenticeship an ideal opportunity to find out more.

Potential apprentices will be able to tour the AMRC Training Centre's facilities and talk to trainers and current apprentices about the opportunities on offer.

Kerry Featherstone, Head of operations at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "We work with a number of SMEs and recruiting apprentices to the traditional academic time frame isn't always right for them.

"For some, the end of the school year is in the middle of their financial year - too late to make financial provision for an apprentice and too early to judge whether you can justify employing one. For others, the run up to the summer break is extremely busy and they don't have the time to consider potential candidates.

"It's important to remember that the opportunities in small companies aren't any less than those in large organisations and they can be greater. Apprentices at small firms may use a broader range of skills to cope with more variety of work, there can be increased potential for promotion and even global travel."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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