The changing educational landscape has resulted in many students considering alternative options to studying at university. One possible alternative is an apprenticeship. A recent report into apprenticeships by The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) calls for apprenticeships to be seen as equal to study at university.

The report concluded that the government’s apprenticeships programme has room for improvement and recommends a number of reforms, such as closer monitoring, to ensure future success.

In 2011 the government invested £1.2bn in the apprenticeship programme, with 457,200 people starting training as an apprentice in a variety of roles. (BBC, 6th November 2012)

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL), a steel producer and engineering company based in South Yorkshire, has been running a highly acclaimed apprenticeship programme since 2005.

Due to the highly skilled and specialised nature of the work, SFIL needs well-trained employees. SFIL offers industry-leading training courses that are tailored to its own needs. It allows SFIL to supply its next generation of skilled workers, trained to its own high standards, as apprentices will form the future backbone of the business. As Graham Honeyman, SFIL’s Chief Executive, explains:

‘Our commitment to apprenticeships is evidenced by them gaining permanent positions and rewarding salaries from day one. Apprentices have contributed to the organisation’s success for many years’

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