A GROUP of trailblazing apprentices have become the first trainees to access Hartlepool College of Further Education’s new Skills Academy.
The apprentices in the group are all working towards national occupational standards in mechanical engineering and are employed by companies Tallent, Caterpillar, Siemens, United Biscuits and Altec.
Charles Rogerson is one of 10 apprentices employed by Tallent Engineering and is currently training at the college.
He has the longest daily commute of the group, travelling from Barnard Castle each day.
He said: “‘Despite my long daily travel I am very excited to be on the course, learning the new skills is both very interesting and rewarding as well as having the added bonus of getting paid along the way”
The Skills Academy will be officially opened next month with hundreds of apprentices, technicians and learners passing through its doors each day.
Hartlepool College of Further Education is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the Tees Valley and County Durham, working with hundreds of regional employers in sectors including engineering, construction, health, business, sport and the retail and service industries.
The college has just launched an Access to Apprenticeship programme which is aimed at providing a structured programme for school leavers still undecided about their next steps.
The flagship Skills Academy is helping youngsters to carve out careers at a time when youth unemployment figures in Hartlepool have been revealed as being the worst in the country.
As reported in yesterday’s Mail, almost one in five people aged between 18 and 25 in the town claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance last month.
Hartlepool has 1,425 people in the age group claiming the benefit, which tops the national table at 17.1 per cent of all 18 to 25-year-olds in the town, and is a rise of 75 between July and August.
A high proportion of the unemployed section in the aged 18-25 section is made up of school or college leavers unable to make the jump into full-time employment.
The course combines work experience with skills training and applicants should apply direct to the customer services team at the college on (01429) 295000, quoting the reference A2A.