Mr Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, met one of the University’s degree apprentices during the visit to BLE Smoke and Fire Curtains on Friday 29 April hosted by Sheffield Hallam.
As part of the visit, he met Liam Millington, engineering degree apprentice at BLE Smoke and Fire Curtains. Liam receives on-the-job training at the company while undertaking the academic part of his degree apprenticeship at Sheffield Hallam University.
Mr Betts also learned more about the University’s partnership with BLE Smoke and Fire Curtains and other regional SMEs to develop bespoke degree apprenticeship courses to support businesses to develop new talent, upskill their current workforce and address skills gaps.
Sheffield Hallam is one of the country’s leading higher education providers of degree apprenticeships with one of the widest portfolios.
The University currently has more than 2,300 degree apprentices studying for qualifications in areas with regional skills shortages including health and social care, policing, digital, architecture and engineering.
Professor Conor Moss, Interim Dean of the College of Business, Technology and Engineering said: “We are delighted to have hosted Mr Betts at one of our regional business partners to show him first-hand the difference our apprentices are making in the workplace.
“The benefits of degree apprenticeships are three-fold – supporting the individual, the business and the economy.
“By working alongside businesses and public sector partners we have been able to expand our apprenticeship provision, offering an alternative route to highly-skilled, better paid jobs.”
Launched in the 1980s, BLE Smoke and Fire Curtains is part of the family-owned Lowe & Fletcher Group. They design, make, and install bespoke smoke and fire curtains.
Sue Curry, HR Business Partner, BLE Smoke and Fire Curtains said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Clive Betts MP to our site in Holbrook to meet our apprentice engineer Liam Millington and have a tour of our R&D and testing facilities. Hiring a degree apprentice has allowed us to bring new skills into our company and Liam has quickly developed in his role, becoming a highly valued member of the team.”
Degree apprenticeships are an alternative earn and learn route to a degree qualification. They combine working with studying part-time at a university. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer.
Programmes are developed by employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership to address regional and national skills needs.
Find out more about Sheffield Hallam University’s degree apprenticeship programme.