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Firms forge ahead with apprenticeships

Skills minister David Lammy inspected an apprenticeship success story made in Sheffield.

Sheffield Forgemasters says apprentices account for 10 per cent of its workforce, which earned it a visit from the minister as he aims for 500,000 apprenticeships by 2020. In June 2002, the company was just hours from closure before a last-minute buy-out. Since then, it has relied increasingly on apprenticeships.

Graham Honeyman, a director, said: "Simply taking youngsters from college or poaching them from other firms wasn't the answer. We needed to train our own apprentices to work on equipment unique to us."

Mr Lammy said: "Sheffield Forgemasters is a good example of how having a workforce with the right skills can not only help a company survive adversity, but also thrive.

"I am urging more employers to follow their example. Yorkshire is experiencing serious skills challenges. Employers need to realise that by upskilling their workforce, they will experience significant benefits."

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