A PIONEERING education programme to fast-track students on to apprenticeships has won praise after a first group of six secured full-time places with employers.
The students have taken up positions with firms across the North East after being on a specialist pre-apprenticeship manufacturing course at South Tyneside College.
The training programme, also backed by South Tyneside Council, lasts just five months, but gives young people essential skills to gain a foothold on the ladder to a successful career in engineering.
Andrew Gray, 19, Connor Nygaard, 21, George Wade, 18, Josh Turnbull, 22, Keegan Roberts, 19 and Sam Ford, 20, have now completed the scheme and are the first to land full apprenticeships through it.
Lindsey Whiterod, the college’s principal and chief executive, said: “The course has proved a great success and these students have gained employment, showing its benefits.
“They did wonderfully well and were able to learn new and important skills, and get a real insight into what it’s like to work within engineering and manufacturing.
“The employers who took them on have told us how impressed they are and say they now want to employ others, which is great news.”
Based at the college’s Westoe campus in St Georges Avenue, South Shields, the course is delivered through the college’s pre-apprenticeship manufacturing academy, set up in partnership with South Tyneside Council.
Council leader, Coun Iain Malcolm, said: “Youth unemployment is a major issue right across the country, but we are taking active steps to help young people in the borough gain the skills they need for employment.
“It’s great to see young people making the most of these opportunities, and getting on the road to a career in engineering.”
The course is one of a number of schemes and vocational courses the college has designed to target the needs of local industry and employers.
Its success means a second programme with 12 students, aged 18 to 24 and jobless for more than five months, is expected to start later this month.
More information on courses at South Tyneside College is available on 427 3900, go to www.stc.ac.uk or e-mail email@example.com