PORT of Tyne bosses have just completed the largest apprentice recruitment drive in its history.
Sixteen apprentices are now employed there, and the port plans to give apprentices an even bigger role in its business by taking on nine more this year.
The port has created apprenticeships in more areas of the business than ever before, including accountancy, marketing, port operations, security and warehousing.
Geoff Gillon, director of human resources, said: “People are at the heart of every thriving company, and as a major North-East employer, we have made bringing young people into our business a key priority.
“Developing the capability of our workforce is crucial to our economic competitiveness, and apprenticeships are good for business.
“They provide individuals with the first step on a career and the business with future employees and growth, in turn bolstering the economy.
“Developing our people through apprenticeships ensures that we can acquire the skills that suit our business needs.”
The port’s commitment comes as National Apprenticeship Week highlights the value of recruiting youngsters.
Katie Radley, 18, recently joined as an accountancy apprentice and is attending college one day a week to work towards Association of Tax Technicians professional qualifications.
She said: “I always wanted to work with numbers and saw this opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
“The beauty of an apprenticeship is that the learning techniques that I get at college can be applied straight away, giving me more practical experience.”
Her manager, group financial controller Graeme Dixon, added: “Making a commitment to invest time and energy into training an apprentice is having a positive effect on the finance team.
“Katie’s enthusiasm is infectious and brings fresh energy to the whole team.”
Callum Beig, 18, joined the port as a business administration apprentice in its engineering department, and he’s been busy helping to archive and catalogue plans and drawings.
Jack Lloyd, 18, one of the port’s operative apprentices, has been trained to drive forklifts, and Shannon Teasdale, 17, has started as a warehouse apprentice.
Andrew Harkins, 21, is the port’s first security apprentice.
His manager, security supervisor Mick Robinson said: “It is good that the Port of Tyne is responding to the difficulties so many young people face in finding a job by providing this step on to the ladder.
“Even though it’s an old concept, it’s very forward thinking.”