Tailor-made training lifts clothing firm

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A trio of apprentices are helping a Sheffield-based clothing manufacturer to burst at the seams with new orders following a tailor-made training programme

When faced with an ageing workforce, Holbrook-based Shield Quality at Work established its first apprentice training programme with the help of Skills Made Easy, run by the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The firm, which makes work clothing and uniforms, was established in 1977.

Skills Made Easy helped the company find candidates and co-ordinated training providers. And the success of the company’s first apprentice, Mark Swift who joined in 2013, led to the firm recruiting two more. It is currently advertising for a fourth.

Shield director Graham Critten, said: “There can be a stigma attached to young adults who are entering the workplace for the first time but our experience of apprenticeships have been very positive.

“ I have been genuinely surprised at the positive impact they have made on the business.

“Our apprentices have all shown a great deal of willing and determination to succeed and all three are progressing well in their new roles.

“Having never recruited an apprentice before I was very apprehensive about the process, but largely thanks to the help and support we’ve received from Skills Made Easy, it’s proved straightforward.”

Launched in 2013, the programme aims to create more than 4,000 new apprenticeships in Sheffield City Region by 2016.

A partnership between eight councils, it is funded through the City Deal which provides Government funding to help employers create skilled jobs.

Grants of up to £1,500 are available for firms recruting apprentices.