World’s biggest tool company sponsors engineering apprentice awards

Iconic toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker is the headline sponsor for the 2020 AMRC Training Centre Apprentice of the Year Awards.

The world’s largest manufacturer of tools, founded 177 years ago by Frederick Stanley, has thrown its full support behind this year’s awards, sharing the AMRC Training Centre’s vision for creating the skilled and thriving workforce that industry needs to innovate and grow.

It builds on Stanley Black & Decker’s long-standing relationship with the training centre in fostering a culture of continuous learning and investment in the next generation of engineering talent. The company already sponsors the training centre’s internal ‘Spotlight Awards’, providing toolbox kit prizes to apprentices who excelled in their first year of training.

The Apprentice of the Year awards, now in their sixth year, is a highlight of the AMRC Training Centre calendar and recognises the achievement, innovation, fresh thinking and contribution apprentices and their employers make to industry.  The ceremony is usually held at the stunning Firth Hall at the University of Sheffield’s Firth Court campus but it has not been possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, to ensure apprentices do not miss out, awards will be presented to winners in the virtual world on Thursday, December 17.

The top apprentice will be awarded with a visit to Stanley Black & Decker’s Global Tools & Storage headquarters in Towson, Maryland, USA, when it is safe to do so and will be granted the opportunity of additional training that includes best practice in advanced, innovative subjects such as automation, robotics, additive design and manufacturing.

Sir George Buckley, the Chairman of Stanley Black & Decker who left school with no qualifications and began his extraordinary career as an apprentice electrician at Stanley, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Stanley Black & Decker is able to support these important awards. It was my distinct pleasure to be part of the judging panels that decided the eventual winner. The quality of the submissions was superb, and the competition was fierce.

“While we’re not able to be together in person to celebrate, it’s inspiring to see that the AMRC Training Centre is pressing ahead in the virtual world and honouring the wonderful achievements of these apprentices.”

Stanley Black and Decker is known to households and workshops the world over: homes and cars are repaired with their tools, cars and phones are secured with their fasteners, and their security systems protect things people value the most. But at the heart of the global-industrial company is people and a commitment to innovation, performance and social responsibility; an ethos that began with innovator and social entrepreneur Stanley in 1843 and continues to this day.

Sir George Buckley, who has been Stanley Black and Decker chairman since 2017 and previously held the post of chairman, president and CEO of 3M, said: “We rightly understand the need for advanced technology in manufacturing.  But there’s nothing that happens in an organisation except through its people.  They are the key thing that separates the best from the rest.

“The foundation stones of a corporation’s technical capability are its apprenticeships, and they form a vital piece of a country’s industrial capability. I began my career as an apprentice electrician at Stanley and I was blessed to work for a company where they fostered a culture of continuous learning, investing in apprenticeships and the next generation of skills.  People are the most important assets which a company has and if we invest in those, we invest in the future.”


Notes to editors

Photo: Sir George Buckley, the Chairman of Stanley Black & Decker who left school with no qualifications and began his extraordinary career as an apprentice. High res version available here. Picture credit: University of Sheffield AMRC.

Media contact: Katia Harston, AMRC Communications Manager,

About Stanley Black & Decker

Stanley Black & Decker is a $14 billion revenue, purpose-driven industrial organization. Stanley Black & Decker has 61,000 employees in more than 60 countries and operates the world’s largest tools and storage business, the world’s second largest commercial electronic security company, a leading engineered fastening business as well as Oil & Gas and Infrastructure businesses. The company’s iconic brands include Black & Decker, Bostitch, CRAFTSMAN, DEWALT, FACOM, Irwin, Lenox, Porter Cable and Stanley. Stanley Black & Decker is a company for the makers and innovators, the craftsmen and the caregivers, and those doing the hard work to make the world a better place.

About the University of Sheffield AMRC

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is a world-class centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies used in the aerospace, automotive, medical and other high-value manufacturing sectors. The AMRC has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and is a model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry worldwide. Combining state of the art technologies with the AMRC’s expertise in design and prototyping, machining, casting, welding, additive manufacturing, composites, robotics and automation, digital manufacturing and structural testing, has created a manufacturing resource far beyond anything previously available in the UK. The AMRC is a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a consortium of leading manufacturing and process research centres, backed by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

About the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre

The pioneering 5,500 sq m apprenticeship training centre was established to train the next generation of world-leading engineers. The centre opened its doors in January 2014 and is has trained more than 1,500 people aged from 16, including second and third-year apprentices who spend one day a week at the centre. Apprentices can go on to study for higher-level qualifications up to doctorate and MBA level. The centre also offers a range of courses for continuing professional development. In 2014 it won the Times Higher Education Outreach Award by creating a blueprint for bridging the manufacturing skills gap and promoting social mobility at the same time.

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