SHEFFIELD has scored a century - with the number of youngsters received career opportunities through Sheffield Council’s apprenticeship scheme passing the 100 mark.
And the same number of additional placements are to be created over the coming year with a further £500,000 from the council plus the same contribution from city businesses.
Council leader Julie Dore marked the milestone by meeting the 100th apprentice to be taken on, Ezra Wells, aged 16, of Wisewood - who is working at Dearneside Fabrications, a leading architectural metalwork company in Neepsend, where he is learning to be a draughtsman.
Ezra said: “I wouldn’t expect for me, being this age, to have found such a good place and good career.
“I’m going to make sure I work with no distractions, knuckle down on my studies, attend college, and make a go of this chance.”
Since starting in 1996, Dearneside has become one of the leading architectural metalworkers to the UK construction industry.
Paul Muldoon, Dearneside managing director, said: “In 10 years’ time, our business will be founded on people we bring in now.
“Unfortunately the average age of skilled personnel on our shop floor is late 40s and early 50s, and few people over the age of 20 want to come into our industry - it’s what’s known as a ‘dirty pastime’ and people are more interested in working with computers and sitting behind a desk. It’s good we can take on people like Ezra, train them up how we want to, and train them in how the company works.”
Coun Dore said: “The apprenticeship programme aims to encourage young people who may not have been successful in the past at gaining an apprenticeship, or are most likely to fall out of education, employment or training and are in need of support.
“I encourage all businesses in the city to get involved and support our young people.”
■ For programme details, call 0114 229 6186.