National Apprenticeships Week: South Yorkshire Leaders celebrate region’s success stories

Written by Sheffield City Region

Mayor Dan Jarvis, local authority leaders and businesses are celebrating the work of apprentices across South Yorkshire – recognising how local employers are stepping up to the apprenticeship challenge during the pandemic.

During National Apprenticeships Week, the Mayor and the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) will be showcasing stories of apprentices from across South Yorkshire, highlighting how improving skills at all ages can make a real difference to people’s futures.

The Mayor called on Government for reforms and investment needed for a big expansion of apprenticeships in South Yorkshire to help drive the region’s recovery from COVID.

Some examples of people who are achieving success or enhancing their careers through apprenticeships are Niall Dawson, who has helped the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to save £50,000 a year in production costs and Emma Harrison at Whyy Change, a business management and training company in Sheffield, who is retraining at age 46 to help her progress in her role to support her employer’s growth and expansion.

Emma Harrison, Quality Practitioner apprentice at Whyy Change, said:

“The purpose of me studying this apprenticeship at age 46 is to allow me to upskill in my current role by developing a systematic approach to Quality Management. These new skills enable me to plan and conduct audits in line with the procedures of our accredited partners. I can support the development and implementation of new products or services we bring to the market by identifying quality risks and preventing or mitigating them.”

‘’Being an apprentice is rewarding, especially as I’m not fresh out of education and haven’t participated in formal learning to this level for a quite a few years. It’s challenging me too which is exactly what I wanted. I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who wants to develop new knowledge and skills in their role. Age should never be a barrier to learning’’

The Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, is calling on Government to back a massive expansion in apprenticeships to drive the region’s recovery from COVID. He said:

“We can harness the power of apprenticeships to help people in South Yorkshire develop the skills they need to secure good jobs and help our businesses and economy thrive. Apprenticeships are critical to our Renewal Action Plan, helping us to unlock a jobs-led recovery from the pandemic and support the region’s growth industries, such as advanced manufacturing and healthcare technology.”

“COVID-19 is stalling the development of skilled workers, including apprenticeships. A reduction in apprenticeships mean that employers will suffer skills shortages and loss of knowledge in the coming years as existing staff retire or change employers.

“That’s why Government must back our Renewal Action Plan, to create 3,0000 training and apprenticeships opportunities and work experience for all people who need them.”

Ninety per cent of apprentices are kept on by their employers after their training and nearly a quarter are promoted within a year. Apprentices can earn up to £117,000 more over the course of their career.

Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the Education, Skills and Employability Board at the Sheffield City Region MCA, talked about the benefits of apprenticeships:

“In South Yorkshire over the past few years, up to 15,000 apprentices have started their courses, and more than 80% per cent of these are employed by small businesses with less than 49 employees.

“Evidence shows that apprenticeships increase employee satisfaction, reduce staff turnover and reduce recruitment costs. Training employees and growing in-house own talent is the most effective way to retain great people.”

People can see case studies from Emma, Niall and others, and find out more about apprenticeships, at

To view the original press release click here