Close Brothers apprentices start at AMRC Training Centre

11 December 2018

The next generation of advanced engineers brimming with fresh talent and new ideas have started at the AMRC Training Centre under a scheme from the Close Brothers to help local employers secure the skills they need for future growth.

The Close Brothers SME apprenticeship programme - supported by the AMRC Training Centre and the Manufacturing Technologies Association - has helped pay for 20 apprentices to support smaller businesses in the Sheffield City Region that might otherwise not be able to afford to take on an apprentice to boost their workforce.

The apprentices have now started on programmes at the training centre - part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Group - where they are being taught the advanced skills needed to make a contribution to company from day one.

New skills: Close Brothers’ area sales manager Ben Coldwell with Nathan Guilliam, apprentice with Watts Engineering Services Ltd on the AMRC Training Centre shop floor.

Nikki Jones, director of the AMRC Training Centre, is pleased to see the new apprentices in centre and praised the scheme for supporting SMEs in the Sheffield City Region.

"The recruitment of ambitious and fully-trained apprentices that can hit the ground running is definitely the right way to go - not only to address the glaring skills shortage threatening the UK engineering and manufacturing industries but to create a diverse and dynamic workforce brimming with fresh talent and new ideas."

Bright sparks: Tina Donnelly, an apprentice with Loadhog Ltd, and Amy Brown, an apprentice with RE Field Services, pictured in the AMRC Training Centre electrical workshop.

Adrian Sainsbury, Managing Director of Close Brothers banking division, said SMEs often need assistance to take on apprentices, which is why they designed the programme to help with the specific issues smaller firms face.

The merchant banking group is contributing 50 per cent of the wages of the apprentices in the first year and 25 per cent in the second year, as well as covering all training costs.

Adrian said: "Apprenticeships are an excellent way for UK SMEs to fill skills gaps, develop their future workforce and improve their long-term growth prospects. We believe the scheme is making a genuine difference to the participating SMEs which is why we have been working with the AMRC to support small businesses for the last three years and are delighted to be continuing our partnership this year."

James Selka, CEO of the Manufacturing Technologies Association, said it’s a fantastic project to be involved with and the MTA always champions the next generation of engineers. 

James added "At the MTA we see high quality apprenticeships as a hugely important talent pipeline for our industry. We are particularly keen to help smaller companies take them on and we fund some within our membership to do just that. The support of Close and great facilities at the AMRC make taking apprentices on more affordable and effective for companies that might otherwise not be able to.2

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