Engineering firms failing to give students experience, claims Peterlee-based academy bosses

Apollo Principal Sally Hudson, students from the Apollo studio Academy and Assistant Principal Karyn Vose.
Apollo Principal Sally Hudson, students from the Apollo studio Academy and Assistant Principal Karyn Vose.

ENGINEERING firms are failing to give academy students the much-needed experience they need.

The £1.5milliion Apollo Studio Academy in Peterlee was set up in response to employers saying there was a huge skills shortage in the region.

But, companies are not playing their part in helping to educate the next generation of engineers for the region.

Apollo, based in Peterlee, was launched last September as a joint venture between East Durham College and The Academy at Shotton Hall.

Research and discussions with businesses found employers wanted young people that were work-ready, able to step straight out of school, college or university and be prepared for the

rigors of the world of work.

And that there is a looming skills gap in the engineering sector.

Apollo focused its curriculum to produce students skilled in STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, subjects, as well as healthcare and business.

A central part of the studio academy concept is work placements for young people aged from 14.

While healthcare and business placements have been easily found, despite the concerns of engineering companies, staff at Apollo are struggling to find firms to give placements to the students.

Apollo Studio Academy principal Sally Hudson, said: “Over the last decade, engineering employers have talked about the desperate need for more young people to be educated to work in their sector and particularly girls.

“A report by the Institute of Engineering and Technology indicates that 59 per cent of companies have concerns that a shortage of engineers could be a threat to their businesses, while others suggested that new engineering, IT and technical recruits do not meet expected skill levels.

“We listened to these needs and that’s why we decided STEM subjects would be a huge part of our curriculum.

“We have invested over £1.5m in the Apollo Studio Academy’s facilities and on top class teachers to offer students the best available education to help fill these employment gaps in the engineering sector.

“Now we need North East engineering companies to stand up and be counted, and help us with the training of these students, to help create the engineering workforce and leaders of tomorrow.

“The success of the studio school model is dependent on employers playing their part. It would be a shame if engineering employers were not forthcoming, especially when we are all so acutely aware of the growing skills shortages.”

To speak to the Apollo Studio Academy about placement opportunities contact Sally Hudson at sally.hudson@apollostudioacademy.co.uk or call (0191) 5185595.