On track for good careers

THE apprentices pictured with Fred Felton, Charl Erasmus and Phil Handley MD of Caterpillar Peterlee
THE apprentices pictured with Fred Felton, Charl Erasmus and Phil Handley MD of Caterpillar Peterlee

FIFTEEN apprentices at one of Peterlee’s biggest companies are preparing to become fully-fledged members of the team.

The rookies at Caterpillar are now in the final few weeks of their training, having completed courses with Newton Aycliffe-based South West Durham Training (SWDT).

The apprentices, including fabrication welders and toolmakers, were treated to a celebration event to mark the successful completion of their course.

SWDT has provided support right through the programmes for the apprentices and developed bespoke courses to meet the individual needs of each new recruit.

Fred Felton, apprentice manager and lead business ambassador at Caterpillar Peterlee, said: “The apprentices we have brought through have been really exceptional, and none of this would have been possible without the support of SWDT.

“A number of the apprentices we appointed needed additional support with their numeracy and English skills, and the intensive help and guidance that the team at SWDT offered was second to none.

“The team there went the extra mile and as a result the apprentices we recruited are really flying.

“Two are now about to embark on a higher level diploma which is remarkable.”

He added: “We really felt that we wanted to mark the achievements of our apprentices, and to recognise the support that SWDT has given in equipping them with the skills and theoretical knowledge they needed to get through their course, so holding an event was a way of giving them a well-deserved pat on the back.”

Charl Erasmus, operations manager at SWDT, said: “It is fantastic that Caterpillar Peterlee is recognising the achievements of these apprentices, and of course, the support that SWDT has provided them.

“Caterpillar really did take a leap of faith in working with us, having not appointed apprentices for more than a decade, and it’s great that they have seen the benefit.

“Apprenticeships are vitally important in bringing through the next generation of manufacturing and engineering employees, and to have had the opportunity to demonstrate to Caterpillar Peterlee the value that they can bring to their business has been excellent.”

Caterpillar Peterlee now has 35 apprentices in training and plans to add a further 12 to its 1,300-strong team this year.