Gripple appears in three Made in Sheffield Awards’ shortlists – Apprentice of the Year, Training Programme of the Year and the overall Made in Sheffield Award.

However, the city’s celebrated 30-year-old manufacturer must wait until September 2nd to discover how many awards the company has scooped to their own and Sheffield’s benefit.

A product of Gripple’s apprentice scheme, Robbie Sanderson, now 20, has been with the company since he was 16, first for work experience, during which he demonstrated skills which drew the company’s attention. During his apprenticeship he worked hard and added a range of NVQs qualifications and now with an HNC.

On completion of this apprenticeship, like all Gripple apprentices, he was offered a permanent job as a mechanical engineer. Robbie is now an exemplary young member of Gripple’s maintenance team making a vital and an increasing contribution.

Learning and development is at the heart of the Gripple ethos. The Gripple graduate scheme is an annual 18-month scheme designed to attract talented graduates into Gripple.

This has run every year for the last seven years, and the learning from each year has been used to tweak and develop the scheme into the success it is today.  In an increasingly competitive pool the numbers of graduates recruited annually have varied between two and five with the number largely dependent on the specific business needs. The total number of graduates recruited under the scheme is 25, more than half still employed in the business.

Each graduate spends an average of eight weeks in each of the company’s key functions, allocated to department leader, undertaking projects and spending a month with one of the company’s overseas subsidiaries, two months supporting developing countries and raising 5k at home for local charities. Decisions are then made as to where their talent will best suit them, the community and Gripple.

Driven by employee ownership, last year Gripple was 30 years old, with 530 staff and had sold more than 800 million of its unique wire joiners, the majority manufactured in Sheffield by more than 250 local staff. In 2019 some £16m of goods were purchased locally.

Sheffield is its home and centre of excellence, despite its growth across the world. The company has established a training academy at GLIDE House, continuing to show a commitment to the city’s sustainability, the region’s prosperity, its people, including the disadvantaged. Over the last 10 years Gripple has donated more than £350k to local causes.

Many jobs have been created over the years, more in a new state-of-the-art factory opening later this year in a rundown area of the city, to be home to Gripple’s automated machine build business, making the company’s city presence to five sites. The company continues to work closely with several business initiatives and starters to grow and develop Sheffield – proudly displaying the Made in Sheffield logo on all its machines.