South Tyneside College delivers on pioneering training scheme

South Tyneside College lecturer Scott Franklin, fourth left, with, from left, ENTEK apprentices Paul Taylor, Gavin Soulsby, Gary Kennedy, Graeme Brown and Lee Armstrong, with, left, ENTEK plant manager Neil Craggs, and, second right, Brian Dickinson, Lean manager at ENTEK.
South Tyneside College lecturer Scott Franklin, fourth left, with, from left, ENTEK apprentices Paul Taylor, Gavin Soulsby, Gary Kennedy, Graeme Brown and Lee Armstrong, with, left, ENTEK plant manager Neil Craggs, and, second right, Brian Dickinson, Lean manager at ENTEK.

South Tyneside College is celebrating the success of a pioneering new adult apprenticeship programme which has helped employees at a North-East firm to learn new skills.

The college’s Grow Your Own initiative sees it partner with employers to deliver workplace skills to suit to their needs and which add competitive advantage to their businesses.

Manufacturing workers at leading battery component maker ENTEK International have become the first to pass through a programme.

They can now support the company’s engineers in keeping essential machinery operational around the clock, improving efficiency.

Lecturer Scott Franklin gave lessons on the production line and in a classroom on-site at ENTEK’s North Tyneside plant.

He said: “This has been a trailblazing programme. ENTEK has seen the potential and used it to give new and important skills to people already working in manufacturing.

“The company and its employees took full advantage of this free training opportunity. Their full commitment throughout was essential to success.”

Two employees from each of the firm’s four shifts took part, gaining a national qualification – and the company is now examining options to repeat the apprenticeship later this year.

Brian Dickinson, lean manager at ENTEK, said: “The programme has proved perfect to training our operations people to carry out basic preventative maintenance checks during their normal working day.

“It’s been such a great success because of the commitment of our staff and the excellent input and support delivered by South Tyneside College.

The college employs a specialist team which works with companies to examine their production processes to see how they can better operate.

Businesses are then offered short but highly effective bespoke training to fix problems in key areas.

These focus on quality tools, where inspectors measure product quality, shop-floor problem solving, machinery maintenance processes, and LEAN manufacturing, the method that ensures efficiency of practice.

The team’s work complements current college strengths in manufacturing-relevant skills areas such as CNC, CAD, welding and mechanical and electrical engineering, areas where companies are experiencing acute skill shortages.

Companies seeking more information on Grow Your Own can contact Ian Fawdon on 07971 918 871 or email ian.fawdon@stc.ac.ak