Apprentice of the Year announced at start of National Apprenticeships Week in Sheffield

A Bradford-born CNC machinist was named ‘Apprentice of the Year’ at the University of Sheffield’s Firth Court Hall today, marking the start of National Apprenticeship Week.

Shivan Morkar, in the first year of his degree apprenticeship in Leeds-based William Cook Rail, won the award at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s (AMRC) annual ceremony.

As part of his prize he will be travelling to Germany for a special visit to Siemens’ award-winning Industry 4.0 Smart Factory in Amberg.

He said: “This means everything to me. I wasn’t expecting it at all – thank you to everyone who has supported to me.

“That support has been very important, it has pushed and helped me to do to more and keep on progressing.”

The event was hosted by Look North presenter Harry Gration. Special guests included Rt Hon Lord David Blunkett and Great British Bake Off winner Dr Rahul Mandal.

Nikki Jones, director of the AMRC training centre, said she was excited by what the future holds for young apprentices in Sheffield.

“The halls of Firth Court echoed to loud applause as the older generation handed the baton to the younger generation, confident in the knowledge that manufacturing and engineering, the heart and soul of our region, are in safe hands and guided by smart brains,” she said.

The awards ceremony comes at the start of the National Apprenticeships Week, with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis visiting Sheffield Hallam University today to meet some of their degree apprentices.

The ‘Blaze a Trail’ week sees a range of activities and events, and aims to highlight the huge number of high quality apprenticeship opportunities available at all levels around the country.

Figures from a February parliament briefing paper, however, show apprenticeship starts in Yorkshire and the Humber have decreased by 27% since the 2016/17 academic year.

While all regions have shown a drop in apprenticeship starts, Yorkshire and the Humber see the fourth highest fall in he country, only behind the North East and the West and East Midlands.

Despite this drop-off, the University of Sheffield remains committed to promoting their apprenticeship programmes.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, said: “As an employer, apprenticeships offer a valuable opportunity to invest in the development of practical skills and experience for our future workforce.”

For more information about National Apprenticeship Week, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2019