A NEW South Tyneside training academy, aimed at creating jobs for young people and filling a national skills gap, has been hailed a “resounding success.”
This follows a 100 per cent pass rate for the first group of trainees who successfully completed Ford Engineering Academy’s inaugural six-month programme.
All 11 teenagers on the programme are now expected to be offered full advanced apprenticeships with leading North East firms.
Bosses from South Tyneside specialist engineering company Ford and South Tyneside College say the high level of success is the result of the teenagers’ positive attitudes, the skilled instruction they receive and support from local manufacturers.
Academy creator Geoff Ford MBE, chairman of Ford, which comprises Ford Aerospace Ltd and Ford Component Manufacturing Ltd, said: “I’m incredibly encouraged by our first trainees – their attitude has been superb.
“They have been fully committed to learning and to completing the course, and have paved the way for others to follow.
“The programme has been an absolutely resounding success and I fully expect the vast majority of the learners to be offered advanced, three-year apprenticeships by the companies with whom they have done work experience.”
Several companies have taken on trainees as part of the initial training academy programme, which provides basic engineering skills, to be followed by another later this month and again in September.
Mr Ford added: “Employers across the North East have been very supportive – they know the good work we are aiming to do.
“I believe the academy has a very bright future.”
Launched last September, the academy aims to give 16 to 18-year-olds the initial training to secure jobs and fill a serious national skills’ shortage.
Mr Ford applauded the support given by South Tyneside College, where the training programme is run and overseen by lecturers.
Later this year, the academy will transfer to new specialist facilities at Ford Aerospace’s factory site at Tyne Dock, South Shields.
The training includes milling, hand fitting, welding and lathe work. Apprentice Daniel Chapman, 16, of Waverdale Way, South Shields, said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my training and I’ve learned an awful lot. It’s been a great way to take the first step into a career in engineering.
“The instruction and the facilities in which we have worked have been first-class. I would strongly recommend the traineeship programme to any young person who wants to learn about engineering and gain a career within it.”
Apart from Ford, other North East firms backing the training academy are Cellpack Solutions, Essentra, Washington Metalworks, Quick Hydraulics and Soil Machine Dynamics.
Leading international engineering companies Haas Automation and Cromwell are also backing the borough-based academy.
Anyone interested in being a trainee should call Marie Flatman at South Tyneside College on 427 3900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.