Forty Teesside teenagers have started ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships with ten of Teesside’s biggest employers within the science industry.
The new government-backed Trailblazer apprenticeships are designed to ensure apprentices receive consistently high quality training that meets the needs of large and small businesses.
Mechanical, electrical, instrument, manufacturing and laboratory technician apprenticeships have been created within the Teesside-based facilities of companies including SABIC, Lotte Chemical, Lucite, Huntsman Polyurethanes, Team Valve, Chemoxy, Ineos, CPI and Redcar Bulk Terminal.
Led by Craig Hargreaves, of SABIC UK Petrochemicals, the 10 companies have formed the Science Industry Apprenticeship Consortium, North East.
SIAC (NE) will work with the government’s new Trailblazer apprenticeship standards to develop specific training programmes that match the needs of the employers in the group.
Craig, senior trainer in SABIC’s maintenance services section at Wilton who has also led the Trailblazer project for science industries across England, recognised the need to develop the local programme as a way of implementing government reform.
He said: “All of the organisations involved firmly believe in the importance of developing the next generation of employees.
“Bringing in young people through apprenticeships provides the opportunity to fill skills gaps in the workforce, and offers a wider talent pool to meet the specific needs of both the company and the industry.
“Apprentices also bring with them new ideas and a fresh attitude, which allows companies to thrive.
“The group also recognises the need for change brought about by Trailblazers, and that working collaboratively across likeminded employers is a way of achieving this goal.”
Craig added: “All the employers involved have taken up the challenge of change.
“We are now working closely with training partners across the industry to ensure our apprentices have the correct skills, knowledge and behaviours to work safely and effectively in our highly regulated industry.
“The majority of organisations involved in SIAC share a history of cooperation and working together on apprenticeship and training issues for the common good of the industry.
“All of the organisations involved have committed extensive time, energy and resources to the success of this project so far and will continue to do so into the future.”
The 40 apprentices attended the induction for the Trailblazer standards and behavioural development programme at Redcar and Cleveland College.
Seventeen-year-old Amy Summerton, who has started a laboratory technician apprenticeship with SABIC, said: “I’m absolutely loving my apprenticeship, which I hope will help to create a career for me within the process industry.”
Amy, whose father is employed by SABIC, added: “It’s fantastic that SABIC and other local companies are creating opportunities like this for me and 40 others.”
• Pictured (above): SABIC’s Craig Hargreaves, who is leading the Science Industry Apprenticeship Consortium (NE), with apprentices, from left: Thomas Poole (Team Valve), Jake Saul (SABIC), Connor Harvey (CPI), Declan Kavanagh (SABIC), Daniel Hunt (Huntsman Polyurethanes), Charlie Blakemore (Chemoxy), Bradley Moore (Lotte) and Jake Marston (Lucite).