BUSINESSMAN Dave Hall should have retired two years ago.
For the 67-year-old boss of Sheffield’s Yorkshire Diamond Products, any thoughts of putting his feet up are haunted by the prospect of having to call time on the family business.
With just five employees, including son Mark, 44, the firm had limited resources to take on a trainee to continue the team’s highly-skilled work manufacturing and refurbishing large diamond saw blades used for cutting stone.
In the not too distant past, the Steel City enjoyed a reputation as one of the world’s best saw manufacturers, but over time companies have died out - along with the skills needed to make the products.
Mr Hall and his son were desperate for help to train up a young person to prevent Yorkshire Diamond Products from meeting a similar fate.
Mr Hall, whose firm is based on Fitzwalter Road, Norfolk Park, said: “We set up the business in 1988. There are only a few of us who operate in the UK.
“It’s quite a unique business and there are not many of us left in the country.
“A large part of it is tensioning blades, which is a specialist manual skill.
“Over the years they’ve tried to develop technology to do the job but they’ve never managed to.
“We’d been looking at trying to train someone up for a while but it’s very hard - there’s no help for small businesses.”
But his prayers were answered in the form of Sheffield Council’s 100 Apprenticeships scheme.
Lewis Worrall, 16, was one of the teenagers struggling to find work or an employer willing to take him on. Through the scheme, he was placed on a trial at Yorkshire Diamond Products.
And in three short months, he has impressed bosses so much that they have taken him on and is now being equipped with specialist skills which will help ensure the future of the firm.
Mr Hall said: “Lewis has been great. He’s a very hard worker and he has settled in really well. Anything we have asked him to do he has done. He says he’s going to be here forever!”
Lewis, from Woodthorpe, said: “I’d left school and wasn’t doing anything. I’d always wanted to work with my hands so this has been really good.
“I am doing what everyone else is doing and seem to be getting on well.”