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AESSEAL's £1.25m apprenticeship programme launched

posted 19 Sep 2012, 05:46 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 19 Sep 2012, 05:46 ]
An MP for an industrial constituency called today [Fri 14th September] for apprenticeship programmes to be set up across the UK.

“Don’t write off British manufacturing and British engineering, but we do need more apprentices,” said Rotherham MP Denis MacShane.

He was launching the £1.25m programme created by mechanical seal manufacturer AESSEAL plc, the world’s fourth-largest in its field and with its Global Technology Centre in Rotherham.

The company, which employs some 1,500 worldwide, including 300 in Rotherham, is ploughing its own money into the five-year programme. It could be expanded, but at least 30 apprentices will have been taken on over that period.

“I want to see more examples of this around the UK,” Denis MacShane said, arguing that it would make Britain a stronger economy and help tackle youth unemployment. “In Germany, a quarter of all employees are in apprenticeship schemes. It means quality is better right across their economy, and that is one reason Germany is more competitive.”

AESSEAL managing director Chris Rea said the programme was important to the future of the company. Production and personnel director Richard Cook, a former apprentice himself, shaped the training and is implementing it with local organisation Brinsworth Academy of Engineering. 

“This is a significant investment for the company and for the region. We need well-trained young people in manufacturing,” he said. “It’s a local and regional problem, but also a national and even international one. But unless we tackle it our European neighbours could steal away the high-value end of manufacturing that’s so important to this country.”

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Gerald Smith, said the initiative was “the sort of bold, confident move that the local and national economies need”.

AESSEAL’s commitment to quality training was recognised at the launch by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering. IMechE business development manager Denis Healy [correct] presented the company with a certificate marking its incorporation into the IMechE Accredited Apprentice Scheme.

Several young apprentices were part of the launch, and one, Aaron Stephenson, told the audience of the opportunities AESSEAL offered him and others like him.