A college lecturer is a strong believer in apprenticeships - he did it himself after leaving school.
Mick Casey is Head of Engineering School at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
He left English Martyrs School with “average” grades before going to college, and the 43-year-old now finds himself on the other side of the desk helping to develop the next generation.
And Mick told how apprenticeships were more important than ever with a predicted growth in engineering because of retirements in the industry.
He served an apprenticeship with Tees & Hartlepool Port Authority as a maintenance fitter, and came to Hartlepool College to do my ONC/HNC.
He also did evening classes in hydraulics and pneumatics after the apprenticeship came to an end and said: “I just had the opinion that the more I learned, the more I’d progress.”
Now he is helping to develop a new generation of workers and has noticed a change in attitude towards apprenticeship options in the last five years.
“Students can go on to do a degree when they are finished their apprenticeship, there’s no age limit or anything like that. There has been a shift in attitude, people want to earn while they learn rather than be saddled with a debt.
“An apprenticeship can be a route towards a degree, and I think over the next five years more people will start to realise that.
“The calibre of students is higher than ever. There was a drop in apprenticeships in the 1990s, people lost faith in them.
“But with a predicted growth in engineering, new recruits will be needed. People in jobs will retire, there needs to be a new generation coming through.”
As well as working with the students, Mick has close relationships with the employers that offer apprenticeship opportunities to youngsters at Hartlepool College.
For more information about, call the Apprenticeship Administrators on (01429) 295111 or visit the website at www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk.