Car parts manufacturer Nifco is gearing up for graduation day, as its first apprentices in more than a decade celebrate passing their course.
The Eaglescliffe-based company, which makes parts used in the engines, interiors and exteriors of cars made by Ford, Honda, Jaguar Landrover, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall Opel, is hosting an apprentice graduation event for Ewan Sorby, Tom Beagrie, Tom Waldock and Josh Appleyard, who have all successfully passed their training programmes – Joshua (of Darlington), Thomas and Thomas (both of Eaglescliffe) are pictured above.
The four young apprentices completed a three-year course with Nifco, working with training providers Stockton Riverside College and South West Durham Training.
The planned graduation day, which will take place on Friday (November 13) and will be attended by Councillor Ian Dalgarno, the mayor of Stockton, is Nifco’s way of recognising the achievements of the young team, who are now fully qualified in their field.
Ewan Sorby, 19, who studied for a qualification in finance, said: “It’s really exciting to have an event organised to celebrate our achievements.
“Apprenticeships offer a fantastic route into industry, but normally, we’d miss out on the kind of ceremony that graduates enjoy.
“To have an employer that is creating an event especially for us, is just great.”
Apprentices are at the heart of Nifco UK’s recruitment strategy, with the company’s own managing director, Mike Matthews, and 11 of the company’s 13 senior managers having entered business through an apprenticeship.
The company overhauled its apprenticeship programme in 2012, when Mr Matthews announced Nifco’s intention to bring through the next generation of engineers.
The commitment was renewed, when the business announced that it would add at least six apprentices to its headcount for every year that it recruits.
Matthews said: “We want our apprentices to enjoy a ceremony that shows them just how proud we are of them.
“Ewan, Tom, Tom and Josh are home-grown talent and now have the skills and experience to make a major contribution to our business, something they have already done for some time as apprentices.
“We believe very strongly in creating opportunities for young people, and developing the region’s talent where we can.
“Apprenticeships offer a great way of doing just that, and we want to make it clear to all of our trainees that we really do value the role they play in growing our business.”
Apprentices work across all departments of Nifco, and there are plans to add more to the team over the coming weeks.
The Japanese-owned business currently has more than 30 apprentices as part of its growing team.
The company works closely with local schools, colleges and training facilities as well as universities to ensure it plays a part in bringing through future talent.