Education and Skills

Education For Work

The Cutlers’ Company Education and Skills Programme 

  1. The purpose of the Company’s Education and Skills programme is founded upon three objectives: 
  2. To help young people in the region be properly prepared with workplace skills to successfully enter the world of work 
  3. To help provide talent for regional business
  4. To enhance the profile of the work of the Company across the South Yorkshire region 

At the centre of these objectives is the Better Learners Better Workers (BLBW) programme.  Launched in 2011, this programme has now helped over 1400 young people achieve skills to help them not only prepare for the workplace and further learning but, in many cases, to progress to exceed their own ambitions.  Supporting the Gatsby benchmarks, for schools to ensure pupils have encounters with employers, employees and workplaces, and using the reputable Skills Builder Framework, the BLBW programme has a number of USPs: 

  • It has been developed within the region by those with a deep understanding of the region and its needs for the benefit of both its businesses and young people 
  • The Company and its 350+ Freemen, who represent a wide range of manufacturing businesses, have an extensive network and continuity of presence across the region.  Friends of the Company, mainly companies from the professional services sectors, are also becoming actively involved. 
  • A number of our Freemen also sit on the governing boards of schools, colleges, universities and multi-academy trusts to help the Company understand the needs of the sector alongside their own knowledge of business. 
  • The Company has a track record of working with experienced, capable and highly competent partners to deliver results. 
  • We have an enduring and enthusiastic partnership with Sheffield City Council who have helped to ensure the programme addresses not only social mobility challenges but also achieves an expanding reach for diversity and inclusion. 

The programme is aimed at the school year 9 cohort and offers experiences with companies in the engineering/manufacturing and construction sectors complemented with modules run by the Army, the NHS, recruiters, accountants and other professional bodies.  These experiences are achieved through a series of skills days held both at the Cutlers’ Hall and other locations across the region.  These days, together with workplace experiences, provide the participants with a highly unique and rich offering to ready them with the skills for the workplace and further learning.  Those who successfully complete the programme are awarded their passport at an annual graduation ceremony held in the Cutlers’ Hall, hosted by the Master and attended by regional dignitaries, in addition to families, guardians and teachers. 

Looking forward, the Company will be expanding its programme to include a primary programme, for school year 5.  This is being developed with a multi-academy trust and a regional resource provider.  The programme is aimed at challenging stereotyping and barriers to social mobility due to background, gender and ethnicity; factors which are widely recognised as being ingrained limitations to future career aspirations from an early age. 

The Company and Education

The Company of Cutlers has taken an interest in education since its creation. Part of the process of controlling makers’ marks in the very early days of the Company was ensuring that apprentices were properly and appropriately trained. All apprentices had to be able to read and write.

The Company has been involved in various initiatives but the long standing Joint Awards Scheme has been run in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers from London since 1926.  In 1924, the Cutlers’ Company received a gift from the Armourers & Brasiers of £300 to help Sheffield traders ‘combat foreign competition’.  Over time it evolved into the competition held today. This event,  first held over 90 years ago, is currently to encourage young people ‘to discover improved methods’ and to broaden their horizons.  Awards are given in the following three categories.

  • These are:
    Engineering Awards:  Open to engineering apprentices and students at Sheffield Hallam University and local industry.
    Design Awards:  Open to design students at Sheffield Hallam University.
    Pontifex Awards: Open to young trainee managers in the steel industry.  This is named after a Past Master of The Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers.