A former apprentice at iconic engineering specialist, Sheffield Forgemasters, has been appointed to the company’s board of directors as its Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Gareth, Barker who started with the company in 1996 as an apprentice engineer, has progressed through the company ever since, working across all of its production divisions in various managerial roles before his appointment to the board of directors.

He now takes overall responsibility for all site operations, technical and quality output, Health, Safety and Environment, implementation of specific new plant investments and works with the CEO, CFO and non-executive directors to shape and develop the future of the business.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ CEO, David Bond, said: “Gareth is a valuable addition to the board of directors at Sheffield Forgemasters and has intimate knowledge of the company’s processes, the markets we serve and our strategies for future growth.

“Apprenticeships present a great opportunity for youngsters to develop their skills and launch their future careers on a sound footing. Gareth is a perfect example of what can be achieved, having worked his way up from the shop floor to gain experience in managerial and director roles across the whole business.

“His work with the other board directors will shape this company for the future and we hope that his achievements to date will serve as a real incentive to apprentices throughout the industry, demonstrating that there are no boundaries to ambition and hard work.”

Gareth (44) started work with Sheffield Forgemasters at the age of 19 and by the age of 25, was promoted to a managerial role within Forge operations, eventually working as general manager for its vast South Machine Shop. He became the company’s youngest ever divisional director in 2007.

Gareth Barker, COO at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “I am delighted to sit alongside our other board directors and to work towards an exciting future for this business, which I have invested my entire working life into.

“I am an avid fan of apprenticeships and view our own apprenticeship scheme as our most important asset. It is the lifeblood of this company and our apprentices are Sheffield forgemasters’ future leaders and decision makers.”

Gareth’s more recent roles included group operations director and director of customer programmes immediately before his promotion to COO.

He will work to develop the company’s future growth in markets including defence, civil nuclear, steel processing, offshore oil and gas and the emerging renewables sector.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ board of directors are: David Bond, CEO, Stephen Hammell, CFO, Gareth Barker, COO, David Duggins, non-executive director, Janice Munday CBE, non-executive director and Colin Smith CBE, chairman.