As a business, we are passionate about developing strong industry links with the education sector to ensure there are robust pathways to employment for all young people and to help develop the pipeline of talent for the engineering sector across the Tees Valley.

Just recently, we welcomed two apprentices, Owen Frost 21 and Richie Horkan 17, onto our new apprenticeship programme in partnership with Middlesbrough College.

Over the past month they have worked alongside our team of experienced engineers, learning first-hand the skills and trade needed to become a successful engineer.

Owen says: “So far it has been very interesting and enjoyable, I feel like I have learnt so much already in such a short amount of time and I am excited to continue.

This opportunity will really help me because it is exactly the job I want and the fact I get to go to college alongside it will help to me learn even more for the future.”

For the next two years they will continue to develop their skills and knowledge and we are excited to continue supporting them in the completion of their Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Apprenticeships.

Richie says: “I really enjoy being out and about working on real problems, not only am I learning how to fix them but I am learning how to identify them before they become a problem.

I feel the experience here will help me develop of better understanding of the job ready for when I finish the apprenticeship.”

As well as continuing to develop our in house apprenticeship programme, we are actively seeking opportunities as a business to have a greater impact on apprenticeships and careers in the engineering sector and in supporting young people to gain vital experience in the real world of work.

Our Finance Director Heather Heward, has been working with other businesses to advise the Investors In People (IIP) team on what a quality apprenticeship looks like.

IIP are looking to bring out an award where businesses, upon passing the criteria, can seek accreditation as a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ employer of apprentices and obtain IIP status.

Heather has advised the IIP and Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) to determine the appropriate criteria which will help evaluate employers covering three main areas; commitment to apprenticeship strategy and delivery, development of apprentice in the workplace and effective communication and support.

Heather says: “Apprenticeship numbers have fallen off the cliff in recent years. Our goal is to help shape the way our young people are educated and ensure they are given the right opportunities to learn the specialist skills required by employers; embarking on excellent quality apprenticeships with strong strategies and clear end goals are fundamental for young people.

It is also equally as important that employers have the right support and guidance in order to facilitate apprenticeships to the highest standards, ensuring they provide opportunities that will lead to a successful career and bright future for those who chose the apprenticeship route”.

Our Managing Director John Heward, is also an Enterprise Advisor for Outwood Academy in Acklam and is also running a special interest group for skills development on behalf of the Federation for Small Businesses.

John says: “I am looking forward to watching our apprenticeship programme develop and our newest recruits gain the knowledge and expertise from our experienced workforce.

They are the engineers of the future and no doubt in years to come will be involved in helping to train up future generations of engineers; it is all about developing and maintaining the workforce pipeline so that our sector continues to grow and prosper in the Tees Valley and beyond!

Becoming a voice for education and apprenticeships within our sector is something that we will continue to push as a business; we are passionate about making a change and having an impact in our area especially and we are excited to see what happens next.”