A decade of delivering apprenticeships, transforming lives

2 mins read

The University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre is celebrating ten years of delivering apprenticeships which have helped to ‘transform lives’, forge strong partnerships and create an engineering workforce fit for the future.

Since the first cohort of apprentices started in 2013, the AMRC Training Centre has a lot to celebrate – it has delivered more than 1,700 apprenticeships from advanced level through to degree, worked with 400 different businesses of all sizes and provided continuous professional development to upskill and reskill existing workforces. 

Nikki Jones, director of the AMRC Training Centre, said: “At the AMRC Training Centre, we’re transforming lives through apprenticeships. We’ve been doing apprenticeships for ten years now and they matter just as much now as when we started. They are so important for the education mix and providing the workforce for the future. Any industry needs to have skilled people going into their businesses, apprenticeships give them access to that pipeline of talent.

“We must continue to invest in apprenticeships nationally and continue to support all employers – large or small – to take on apprentices. They bring in new skills and fresh ideas. Innovation and a skilled workforce are different sides of the same coin; they are both essential to economic growth and you cannot have one without the other.”

Throughout this journey, partnerships with companies such as Close Brothers have played a key role to help make apprenticeships possible. Adrian Sainsbury, chief executive of Close Brothers Group plc, said: “Our partnership with the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre opens up great opportunities for young people and helps create a much-needed pipeline of future engineering talent. 

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way for UK SMEs to fill skills gaps, develop their future workforce and improve long-term growth prospects. We know from experience that SMEs often need assistance to take on apprentices. 

“Over the past eight years we have supported the training of 70 apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre through the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme that aims to help with the specific issues SMEs are facing which includes the cost of investing in an apprentice. We also want to help businesses establish a diverse and dynamic workforce of young fresh talent with new ideas and an eagerness to learn the skills and knowledge required to build a rewarding long-term career.”

Two former apprentices funded through the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme, Leigh Worsdale and Ben Siddall, commended their apprenticeship journey for helping them ‘open the right doors’ to unlock their potential – leading to winning awards, visiting Boeing’s commercial aircraft factory in Seattle, US and landing senior leadership roles in companies.

Leigh Worsdale (25) works as an engineering manager at Foxwood Diesel in Chesterfield, but her roots go back to 2015, when she started her apprenticeship journey at the AMRC Training Centre as a heavy duty diesel engine builder.

Leigh, who was the first female apprentice to win the overall AMRC Training Centre Apprentice of the Year award, said choosing an apprenticeship over an academic degree was an easy decision, adding: “The biggest reason for me was I didn’t want any debt, and an apprenticeship was the way to gain more experience to build my career while being able to earn a wage.

“There were some ups and downs, but it has all led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my apprenticeship.”