Hartlepool will be at the forefront in the next phase of the fight against Covid-19, potentially creating more than 100 new roles at TT Electronics’ Teesside facility where a new rapid test for the virus is being manufactured.
Hartlepool College is acting as a recruitment and training partner for Virolens, an in vitro medical device (IVD) that provides a Covid-19 test result in around 20 seconds, designed by i-Abra and currently being manufactured at TT’s Hartlepool plant.
Nathan Hunt, HR Manager at TT Electronics, said: “Due to the potential demand for this product and in anticipation of potential end customers converting expressions of interest into firm orders, we need to be ready to deploy production operatives who are highly trained and prepared to play a key role in bringing this device to market.”
Potential candidates have been sourced through Hartlepool Council’s Learning and Skills Department, the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Hartlepool’s Jobcentre Plus – they then head to college for training.
Mr Hunt said: “The responsiveness and support we have received from Hartlepool college has been second-to-none.
“The college has a fantastic reputation in the local area and is well-positioned to provide the recruitment and job onboarding support that we crucially need to get Virolens to market quickly.
“Virolens has the potential to create many high quality, sustainable new jobs at TT Electronics in Hartlepool.”
Hartlepool College’s efficiency and effectiveness in accepting the request from TT Electronics comes at a time when the Association of Colleges has published a report calling for government to scrap unhelpful universal credit claimant rules, preventing people from participating in learning or training if they receive unemployment benefits.
The link between Hartlepool College and TT Electronics highlights the importance of supporting the unemployed in partnership with local Jobcentre Plus and authorities – in turn boosting the economy.
Alison Hill, the college’s contracts manager, said: “We believe we are meeting the needs of TT for the production of Virolens.
“We designed a programme linking in with Hartlepool Jobcentre, offering employability skills and health and safety training delivered by the Local Authority’s Learning and Skills Department in partnership with the college.
“The college delivers sector specific training around advanced manufacturing. Dedicated teams from TT Electronics are delivering production line training at the college to ensure candidates are work-ready before transferring to live production at the Hartlepool plant.
“We have showcased how agile we are to employers by reacting to their needs instantaneously.
“The strong partnership we have with Learning and Skills, Jobcentre Plus and the Tees Valley Combined Authority shows that the employer and those people who want to get into work are the ones who benefit most.”
The Sector-Based Work Academy Programme will lead to learners receiving Level 1 employability skills and Health and Safety, as well as Level 2 in lean manufacturing and industrial environmental awareness; as well as real world production line skills which is delivered by TT Electronics.
Those employed will help produce the Virolens, which is a screening device that uses microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence software technology to detect the presence of the Covid-19 virus from a non-intrusive saliva swab test within a very short space of time.