South Tyneside company launches training academy

SKILLS OFFER ... Ford Aerospace chairman Geoff Ford.
SKILLS OFFER ... Ford Aerospace chairman Geoff Ford.

A new bid to train youngsters is being launched with the opening of an academy at a major South Tyneside manufacturing company.

The initiative, by aerospace firm parts maker Ford Aerospace Limited and Ford Component Manufacturing Limited, will see a first group of 12 trainees get instruction in a dedicated “academy” and work experience placements.

The Ford Academy aims to identify talented youngsters, with the ability to work in manufacturing, and overcome a sector skills gap by creating a workforce for the future.

The project is a joint venture with South Tyneside College.

The academy is the brainchild of Geoff Ford MBE, chairman of Ford Aerospace in Tyne Dock, South Shields, and Ford Component Manufacturing Ltd, at Monkton Business Park, South Tyneside, and Silverfox Way, North Shields.

He said: “Manufacturing needs young people to ensure it can operate to its full potential and be a great driving force for economic growth and productivity.

“There is a skills shortage, and initiatives like this academy can make a real difference to the future success of manufacturing and to the young people whose skills and talents it will help recognise.”

A workshop at Ford Aerospace’s Tyne Dock headquarters, where its laminate products are made and processed, is to be converted into a training centre.

It will contain a range of equipment that youngsters will train on, with the input of college lecturers.

Classrooms are also being prepared for educational elements.

All those taking part will learn a range of employments skills, and basic numeracy and literacy.

The traineeship will be five-days-a-week for six months.

As well as a guaranteed job interview, those coming out of the training progress directly on to Level 3 college courses should they wish.

Alison Maynard, the college’s director of curriculum, planning and learner engagement, said: “The academy has been a key ambition of the college and Ford.

“There are many benefits to all involved, especially the young people on whom the future of manufacturing and engineering relies.”

Recruitment is at the college’s Westoe campus in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday, July 3.

Potential trainees and parents can chat to lecturers and employers, including Mr Ford.

Anyone interested, should register to attend the event by e-mailing with the subject ‘academy open night’.

For further information on Ford Academy opportunities, call Marie Flatman on 427 3900 or e-mail

Twitter @shieldsgazpaul

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