Dozens of opportunities have been created for process apprentices after a link-up between Hartlepool College and a chemical firm.
The college has teamed up with Fine Organics to tailor a scheme which sees it deliver the technical certificate and other apprenticeship related qualifications , and the chemical firm delivering its own unique NVQ package.
The partnership has been in place since 2012, and is now starting to reap rewards after the first seven students graduated recently along with a further four who had specialised in the laboratory technician apprenticeship course.
There are currently a further eight process apprentices and four lab technicians in the early stage of the latest course, while the recruitment process for the next group of apprentices is well underway.
Graham Plant, business development manager at the college, said: “When we initially started speaking to Fine Organics, it quickly emerged that they wanted to take process apprentices, but that wasn’t something which we normally deliver.
“The business has its own suit of NVQ’s which is assessed and verified internally.
“It made sense for them to fit their training around exactly what they required, rather than taking on a generic training programme which would then have to be altered to fit their needs.
“What we have done is to provide the Technical Certificate to run alongside their NVQ in a sub-contract arrangement which is beneficial to both parties.
“They get a significant proportion of the funding, and we are now delivering process apprentices who are learning on the job and when they finish their three-year training programme they fit exactly into the in-house requirements.”
Fine Organics, which is the chemical production facility within the Fine Industries group, supplies chemicals to a wide range of customers worldwide.
Arthur Sigsworth, lean manufacturing co-ordinator at the Teesside-based plant, added: “This partnership benefits both parties, and while we have delivered our own training successfully over the last 20 years, we can now integrate this into the apprenticeship programme with the college delivering the other qualifications required for the apprenticeship framework.
“We have always viewed apprentices as a key part of our long-term plan.”