STEELMAKER Liberty House has signed a deal to hire 50 new apprentices.
The owner of three Rotherham steel mills will work with Sheffield College to train 50 new recruits for its plants in the town and at Stocksbridge.
Under the agreement, Liberty Speciality Steels will also turn its in-house apprentice training facilities at Stocksbridge steelworks into an industry-based campus for the college to deliver both practical and theoretical learning.
The recruitment of apprentices comes just three months after Liberty acquired the 1,700-worker business from Tata Steel UK.
It is part of an expansion plan which the company said would involve a total of 300 new jobs.
Liberty House, parent company of Liberty Speciality Steels, is now one of the largest industrial employers in the UK with over 5,000 staff, and it has stated that it aims to play a key role in encouraging a new generation of young people in Britain to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.
The company's latest batch of 50 apprentices range in age from 16 35.
The new starters are aged 16 to 20 and will begin a level 3 apprenticeship standard, while the older group will undertake a higher apprenticeship in engineering.
Tony Goddard, training delivery manager at Liberty Speciality Steel, said: “Since the last recession, there has been a gradual grow back within the engineering and manufacturing industries which has created a demand for highly skilled people.
“To ensure that our business can continue to grow we have committed to apprenticeship programmes which we believe can deliver individuals with the right skills and knowledge at the right times to ensure that the company can move forward.”
Andrew Hartley, business development director at Sheffield College, said: “We are delighted to launch this new partnership with Liberty Speciality Steels at such an exciting time for the company.
“Apprenticeships offer employers a fantastic opportunity to attract and mould new talent as well as develop existing staff so that businesses have the skills they need to raise productivity, boost growth and increase levels of innovation.”
Electrical engineering apprentice Paul Butler said: “My experience in the Liberty Speciality Steels training centre has been really positive.
“It’s a great mix of classroom-based learning, so we understand the theory, and practical hands-on learning.”