Legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revisited the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) earlier this month, where he commended the “fantastic” apprenticeship opportunities on offer by engineering firms such as SCX.
Prior to winning 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles with Manchester United, Sir Alex began his vocational life as an apprentice tool maker in Glasgow. He has since become an advocate for apprenticeship schemes in the UK and helped launch construction of the world-class engineering (AMRC) Training Centre during a visit to the AMRC in 2013.
SCX’s Street CraneXpress division – a national service provider of crane maintenance, inspection and repairs – is working closely with the AMRC to regenerate engineering apprenticeships in the UK.
The Sheffield-based company has developed a tailored apprenticeship scheme with nine apprentices currently at various stages in the professional mentoring programme and the latest recruits undertaking studies at the AMRC Training Centre.
After touring the AMRC facilities and observing some innovative project work, Sir Alex told apprentices, Training Centre staff and Street CraneXpress director, Ray Fletcher how impressed he was with what was being offered: “Until recently there were no opportunities for apprenticeships, but I know from my own experience how valuable they are, that’s why I am so impressed with the venture here.”
Ray Fletcher was delighted to hear Sir Alex’s positive comments: “It’s great to have someone so high profile endorsing what we’re doing because we’re putting a lot of hard work into our apprenticeships internally with the new mentoring scheme and fully planned out training programme. It’s humbling to know that all of our combined efforts may actually help to make a difference in the sector and assist us in finding the best candidates to become exactly what we need in a future engineer.”
As an active member of the AMRC Industry Training board, SCX is also involved in ongoing discussions and decisions relating to the continual improvement of engineering training for the Sheffield city region.
The company has also recently acquired a new building to accommodate further growth of their apprenticeship programme. “The dedicated workshop area will be fitted with industry-leading equipment to help us train our apprentices and equip them with the necessary practical skills needed for the future,” said Fletcher.
During his visit, Sir Alex encouraged all apprentices to “seize opportunities to improve and build their skills wherever possible”.
Mr Fletcher said that SCX’s aim in working with the AMRC is to “provide an interesting training programme with a broad scope of learning in order to attract more people into engineering.’