Firm steps in to help Hartlepool apprentices after pandemic jobs blow

College bosses have hailed an engineering firm as a “class act” after it came to the rescue of students hit by the pandemic.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:48 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:52 am

Wilton Engineering stepped in after the Hartlepool College of Further Education students lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic – leaving three of them with just 12 weeks to find new posts or lose their status.Ryan Lodge, Josh Tate, Matthew Geddes, Travis Miller, Connor Jack Lee, Jake Tait and Jackson Malcolm have all been taken on at the Port Clarance-based company in recent months.

They are part of Wilton’s recruitment drive to support the delivery of pipeline projects in the offshore energy and defence industries.

Harry Garraghan, a lecturer in fabrication and welding at the college, said: “This shows what a class act and a great company Wilton is.

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From left, Travis Miller, Matthew Geddes, Josh Tate, Ryan Lodge, Gary Riches (HCFE), Harry Garraghan (HCFE), John Price (Wilton HR Manager), Dave Duffy (Wilton Supervisor), Jackson Malcolm, Connor-Jack Lee and Jake Tait.

“Wilton’s work is of the highest quality and it is fantastic that they have saved a number of apprentices during the pandemic.”

“We had three apprentices who worked full-time last April in the first weeks of lockdown. Instead of furlough the company let them go.

"They had 12 weeks to find a new job and, in the middle of a pandemic, and the chances of them getting employment looked to be zero.”

He added: “Companies weren’t prepared to take them on with restrictions in place but Wilton stepped forward.

From left, Matthew Geddes, Travis Miller, Josh Tate, Ryan Lodge, Gary Riches (HCFE), Harry Garraghan (HCFE), John Price (Wilton HR Manager), Dave Duffy (Wilton Supervisor), Jackson Malcolm, Connor-Jack Lee and Jake Tait.

“A few weeks ago Wilton recruited four Level 3 Plate Welders from our full-time cohort. The firm knows the importance of training and recruiting young people.”

Bill Scott, chief executive of Wilton Engineering, started out as an apprentice himself.

He said: “Wilton has a really good relationship with Hartlepool College which was forged when we first started our apprenticeship journey 27 years ago.“Although Covid has been challenging for everyone, we are pleased that with a good order book we are able to continue that commitment last year and again increase the number of apprentices this year.“Creating these skilled roles is imperative for our sector and we felt it was important that the time invested by these young people shouldn’t go to waste.”For further information on Hartlepool College’s apprenticeships, go to www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk/apprenticeships