Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2020

This week we’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 3 - Sunday 9 February 2020) by showcasing the diversity and value that our apprentices bring to our workforce and city region.

We have always valued apprenticeships at our University and as a major UK, city and regional employer, we want to diversify and increase the number of apprentices we employ.

To kick start National Apprenticeship Week, Brendan Stone, Deputy Vice-President for Education and Chair of the Apprenticeships Education Oversight Group, welcomed colleagues from across the University at an event for apprentices and their managers, celebrating apprenticeships. Brendan said: “As an employer, apprenticeships offer a valuable opportunity to invest in the development of practical skills and experience for our future workforce. National Apprenticeship Week is a great way to celebrate the impact and apprentice opportunities for new and existing staff at the University. We are very proud of the opportunities we offer apprentices as part of our widening participation programme in the local community, alongside our ability to attract curious and talented individuals to our range of diverse departments and facilities.”

Currently we have over 120 apprentices employed across a number of faculties and professional services departments. With a mixture of new recruits and existing staff undertaking development, we are really seeing the impact of apprenticeships in enhancing skills, knowledge and behaviours. With apprenticeships in a wide range of disciplines and covering Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (Masters equivalent), there’s plenty of potential for huge benefits across the University.

Beth Asquith, Human Resources Manager at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), said: “The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is Look Beyond and we challenged ourselves to think about how apprenticeships are helping us to plan for the future, to see past something that had come before, and to feel better about a situation. As part of the event, apprentices from across the University and their managers took time to meet each other in a speed networking session, exploring how apprenticeships have helped us to look beyond in our development, careers and in our teams.”

Visit our apprenticeships web pages

Read on to discover more about apprenticeships at the University:


#1 Opportunities for leaders

There are great opportunities for those in leadership roles to further develop their skills and study whilst working. We have a cohort of University leaders currently undertaking the MBA in Senior Leadership and in January this year two cohorts of managers and leaders from across the University began an MSc in Management and Strategic Leadership.

Kevin Corke

Kevin Corke, Departmental and Facilities Manager from Medicine Dentistry and Health, began an MBA in Senior Leadership, he said: “I have found the MBA challenging both in terms of managing my day job whilst studying, especially after such a long time out of the classroom. I am, however, really enjoying the experience and learning lots which is starting to impact my leadership practice.”

Nancy Stuart, Head of Professional Services at Sheffield University Management School, said: “The MBA is helping to develop my leadership and management development within the context of my own role in the University. It allows me to develop my career path and increase my contribution to the University at the same time. It is challenging balancing the priorities of my job and those of the MBA but being able to directly apply learning to the current problems I am dealing with in work has been very beneficial.”


#2 Stories from apprentices

Discover more case studies from our apprentices

Nicole Barker

Business Administration Apprentice at the Sheffield University Management School (SUMS)

“Towards the end of sixth form, I found myself struggling to find a subject that I wanted to study at University and was instead eager to get some experience in the working world. I liked the idea of learning skills in a business environment, whilst contributing to the daily running of an organisation and experiencing what it’s like to work in a team.

“The most valuable part of my apprenticeship is the wide range of experience I have gained in a large organisation. There are so many different teams and services across such a vast area and the amount of opportunities available for progression and shadowing in other areas is never ending. This allows me to gain an insight into the different working environments and priorities of a range of different teams, as well as getting to see the other side to University life and all of the preparation that goes into providing a good University experience for our students.”

Nicole Barker

Tom Marsden

Customer Service Apprentice in the Academic Unit of Medical Education

“Having spent two years at university and coming to find it wasn't for me, an apprenticeship was a great way to go into a working environment I wouldn't usually have access to and also to get the experience and equip me with the tools to further my career at a young age.

“This apprenticeship has helped me grow professionally. My interpersonal skills, networking skills and confidence have greatly improved, which is crucial when working as part of a team. My IT skills have also greatly improved which is crucial to any role I take in the future.”

Tom Marsden


#3 Could an apprentice work for your team?

“Why not give someone with the enthusiasm to learn new skills a chance of doing something different?”

Alison Lougheed, Business Support Manager in IT Services explains how apprentice Kate is providing invaluable support to her team and encourages colleagues to look beyond traditional hiring routes

“We often need additional support in our main office and usually go for a Grade 3 role so we can have someone with skills and experience to help from day one. During the shortlisting process, we always think it would be great to offer the chance to some of the less experienced candidates but feel we can’t due to the job specification. This time, we decided to put our thoughts into action and give someone else a chance to get that sought-after work experience, on-the-job training and experience so often needed. I started at the University back in 1984 on a Youth Training Scheme (old style apprenticeship!) and found the training I received was invaluable for my career so I wanted to give someone else the opportunity!

“We have a great apprentice, Kate, who has been with us since early November. She has been a massive help to the team and very willing to learn anything and everything. Kate is based on our main reception so deals with all visitors to the department, plus incoming/outgoing post, requests for travel/accommodation from our staff, raising requisitions, etc, all of which reduces the burden on the rest of the team – win/win!

“Why not give someone with the enthusiasm to learn new skills a chance of doing something different. There are some great people out there just waiting for this type of opportunity – from the six candidates selected for an interview, we could have employed three.”

Managers toolkit

Apprenticeship FAQs

For any other queries, or specific advice you can speak to your faculty representative or your customary HR contact or get in touch with Beth, Apprenticeship Project Manager, by emailing tuos-apprenticeship-project@sheffield.ac.uk


#4 Apprenticeships at our AMRC Training Centre

Our AMRC Training Centre is led by a team of specialists experienced in developing world-class talent, supported by learning specialists who understand what the manufacturing sector needs to thrive and grow.

Apprenticeships at the AMRC are providing individuals with the foundations for a rewarding career in some of the world’s most innovative industries. They also provide employers with qualified employees who have a tailored set of skills and hands-on experience of using industry-standard, state-of-the-art machinery and technology.

This week, they've been asking employers the reasons why they employ apprentices. Follow them @AMRCtraining to find out more.

And one of their apprentices, Sean Delaney, shares his experiences in a blog. Read Sean's blog