Hartlepool college 'training bus' puts apprentices on the right road

A “training bus” between Hartlepool and Sunderland is putting young workers on the road to successful careers.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:35 am
Unipres apprentices ready for the road

Hartlepool College of Further Education and Sunderland-based car body parts company Unipres (UK) are currently training 24 apprentices – who regularly hit the A19 in their recognisable royal blue uniforms to further their development.

The firm and the college have been working together to train their workforce for the future for the last five years.

Rob Dodds, training academy controller at Unipres (UK), said: “We have a history with Hartlepool College. What originally set them apart is that it wasn’t a case of them telling us what they would expect, they asked us what we wanted.

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“One of the first barriers was the distance between us, but the college offered a minibus down to the college and back every day.”

The apprentices are expected at Unipres’s site in Cherry Blossom Way, Sunderland, at 7.15am every day and start work at Hartlepool College an hour later – returning at 4.45pm.

Every employee must wear the royal blue uniform with the Unipres logo and that is no different for those apprentices who spend the day at Hartlepool College.

Gary Riches, assistant principal at Hartlepool College, said: “The apprentices are noticeable around the college site throughout the day in their blue uniforms.

“It’s making others take notice. The apprentices are from all over the North-East and we also have some Unipres apprentices who are from Hartlepool now, something we haven’t had in previous years.”

The college says it’s relationship with Unipres highlights how successful it is at fulfilling the needs of the employers in the North East that they work with.

Mr Riches added: “The relationship between myself and Rob and the directors at Unipres is a very strong one.

"It is an open, honest, transparent relationship. From my point of view their recruitment and selection process is outstanding.

“The calibre of apprentice is extremely high. It also shows the calibre of employer this college partners with. It shows this is the place to study engineering, whether you are a full-time learner or in higher education, this is it.”