IF THE big money disappears from a football club, the emergence of homegrown talent becomes crucial to success.
And businesses are recognising how nurturing their own apprentices could be vital to their economic future after coronavirus.
Some have even been able to recruit youngsters during the pandemic, with the aim of hitting the ground running.
Anne Griggs, head of business development at Rotherham’s AMRC Training Centre, said: “It is fantastic to see new apprentices starting their journey to becoming engineers and shows the value employers place in the centre and its apprenticeships, even in these uncertain times.
“When the Government decides we are able to return to some form of normality, focus will turn to economic recovery.
“A skilled UK workforce will be a key ingredient for that and apprentices have an essential part to play.”
Andrew Denniff, (pictured, below) chief executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said: “There’s always going to be a role for apprentices irrespective of the current situation. I’m reassured that there are people still finding places now for apprentices.
“Football provides a simple analogy. The academy are the apprentices of a club, even if they are not referred to as apprentices an more.
“They are the young talent that needs to be nurtured and that’s the same, whether it’s football, advanced manufacturing, the construction sector, IT or retail.”
He added: “We are still pushing on with the 2020 Rotherham apprentice awards because everyone involved in that, from the chamber and council to the private sector business, knows the importance and have not lost sight of that.”
NE Components — formerly Newburgh Engineering — is one of the firms to have taken on an apprentice from the AMRC during the pandemic.
Operations director Phil Longden said: “Things may be uncertain but we do need to maintain skill levels now and looking to the future, so continuing with an apprentice programme is incredibly important.”
Another firm undeterred by the present crisis is Sheffield-based Atlantic Pumps, which has also plucked an apprentice from the Rotherham training centre.
Managing director Andy Smith said: “Business is down but there is still a huge amount to do, supporting our clients in protecting their assets and helping them to fulfil obligations.
“We wanted to take on a new apprentice now because, ultimately, we believe in both our future and the future of apprentices.
“Our business relies on having quality engineers with a great attitude for customer care. These are in short supply and we’ve found the best way to get them is to invest in creating them ourselves.
“It isn’t a quick fix though, so we have gone ahead, knowing that if we want this resource for 2021 and beyond we have to invest now.”
The AMRC training base (right) — part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District at Catcliffe — suspended its face-to-face teaching on March 16.
Classes went online, with tutors in regular contact with apprentices and extra support given by the University of Sheffield to ease the transition to digital learning.
Ms Griggs added: “The training centre moved quickly to ensure teaching has continued throughout the lockdown period and that is thanks to the hard work and flexibility of our teaching staff, apprentices and their employers.
“The centre is still open for business and we are still processing new applications for apprenticeships.”