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Former apprentice celebrates scheme that started his career

9th January 2024
Former apprentice celebrates scheme that started his career

The new cohort of the highly-regarded Close Brothers SME Apprentice Scheme received a boost when one of its former graduates – Alex Wilcox, 21, from Doncaster precision engineers, Agemaspark – welcomed them onto this year’s course at a recent event.

The event, at the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre, was an opportunity for Close Brothers and companies taking on new apprentices through the scheme to meet the new intake along with employers of past and present apprentices of the scheme to see first-hand the impact it’s had. In addition, it afforded attendees the opportunity to take a closer look at the world-class facilities the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre offers.

Paul Stockhill, Managing Director of Agemaspark said: “We were thrilled to take Alex and another of our apprentices, Jay, to the event to meet the group to talk with them and share their experiences and how it’s benefitted them in their employment with us.

“We were fortunate enough to receive funding through Close Brothers’ SME Apprentice Scheme to help us cover Alex’s training and his salary, so it was important for us that he attended the event.”

Alex added: “I am extremely grateful to Close Brothers for the funding that enabled me to take part in this apprenticeship and start my career.”

Nikki Jones, director of the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre said: “At the AMRC Training Centre, we’re transforming lives through apprenticeships. We combine classroom learning and shop floor industrial experience to equip new, young talent with all the skills they need to become the advanced engineers of tomorrow.

“It is crucial to invest in apprenticeships and support employers to take on apprentices to help close the huge skills gap in the industry currently. We’re proud of our relationship with Close Brothers and acknowledge their constant support in delivering apprenticeships throughout the years, helping companies such as Agemaspark take on apprentices and kick-starting their careers.”

Steve Gee, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance’s Industrial Equipment Division, said: “We have been supporting small firms in the engineering and manufacturing sector for decades, and are incredibly proud of being able to give something back through the scheme.

“Whenever we meet the apprentices, we are always so impressed by their maturity and dedication to their craft, which they get to hone at the AMRC’s state-of-the-art facilities rightt in the heart of the UK’s manufacturing sector.”

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