Fifteen firms sign up to support Ford Engineering Academy

(from left) apprentices Liam Rowden and Matthew Reilly with Gateshead College tutor Anthony Jeff
(from left) apprentices Liam Rowden and Matthew Reilly with Gateshead College tutor Anthony Jeff

North East firms have pledged their support for a new training academy run by South Shields-based Ford Engineering to tackle skills shortages in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Fifteen firms have signed up to be part of the Ford Engineering Academy, a pioneering training programme informed by industry and developed with Gateshead College to help the region’s manufacturing and engineering sectors build sustainable workforces for the future.

Would-be apprentices can find out more at the open event

Would-be apprentices can find out more at the open event

The companies will provide placements for students who secure places with the Ford Engineering Academy – and some will offer apprenticeships for talented individuals who stand out.

The Academy, established in 2017, gives young people the attitude, skills and knowledge they need to start their career, with many moving on to an apprenticeship.

Students spend a year at Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Automotive and Engineering in Team Valley, mastering the core skills and competencies needed for key engineering tasks while also studying English and maths and learning about health and safety and work preparation methods.

Chris Ford, managing director of Ford Engineering, said: “We have had some amazing young people through the academy already who have gone on to secure apprenticeships. Having more businesses offer work placement opportunities is only going to add to the experience for our learners.”

We have had some amazing young people through the academy already who have gone on to secure apprenticeships.

Chris Ford

Food packaging supplier Graphic Packaging International is one of the businesses to come on board. The company is taking on two students, Jamie Brown and Josh Prendagast, on an eight-week work placement and has guaranteed to offer them an apprenticeship at the end of it.

HR manager Julie Nicholson said: “There are severe skills shortages in the manufacturing and engineering sectors and it’s important for the future of our business that we do something to tackle the problem. We’re invested in supporting young people and feel the programme is an ideal way to recruit and bring fresh talent and skills to our team.”

A recruitment event will be held at the Skills Academy for Automotive and Engineering on Tuesday, May 7.

Anyone who would like to attend should visit www.gateshead.ac.uk/events/ford-engineering-academy/.