Hundreds of students have been given a lucrative message - that an exciting career could lie ahead for them in renewable energy.
The message came from JDR Cables, the current Hartlepool Business of the Year, which welcomed 200 pupils from six secondary schools to their giant facility in Greenland Road.
Bosses wanted to spread the word that the offshore energy industry is a fantastic place to work and that jobs will be available on their doorstep in the future.
Chief operating officer Richard Turner said: “We hope they are excited by what they see. This is a fun place to work and the opportunities in this industry are fantastic.
“Hartlepool has a lot to offer and a lot to shout about. We have a detailed business plan which takes us to 2020 and beyond and we see a skills gap coming.
“We invited schools to see what we do but it is more than just us and what we do and make. We are trying to give them a glimpse of the offshore energy industry.”
We hope they are excited by what they see. This is a fun place to work and the opportunities in this industry are fantastic. Hartlepool has a lot to offer and a lot to shout aboutRichard Turner, chief operating officer at JDR Cables
The oil and gas markets had struggled in recent years but Mr Turner said: “We forecast it to recover towards 2018.”
Offshore and renewable markets had enjoyed growth lately but JDR was able to look at different scenarios and aim to keep flourishing.
“The one thing that is consistent is growth and we will be aiming to add more capacity, provide more jobs in particular in Hartlepool.”
The day was also about encouraging students to consider STEM subjects and get the qualifications to stand them in good stead.
Year 10 pupils from five schools from Hartlepool and one from Darlington - all currently involved in engineering subjects - got to enjoy interactive fun at the JDR day, ranging from music to dancing.
They were also given an app and split into groups which toured stands in the factory.
At each of the ten stands, questions were asked about how to generate electricity for a turbine, and how to make cables.
Mr Turner added: “The underlying message is that the future of energy is not just about new machines and products, it is about them. If we do not have people and skills, none of it will happen. They are the vital connection.”
He described the Educational Day as a first step towards JDR having more connections with schools.
Another is a plan to launch six cadetships, one for each of the schools involved in the visit, so that a student can return to JDR on a structured programme to get more of an in-depth look into the business.
Mr Turner described the Education Day as a taster of things to come in JDR’s links with education and the next generation.
He said the company already had a long-standing relationship with Hartlepool College of Further education and was working with the High Tide Foundation.
The event was also used by JDR to display its new state-of-the-art horizontal lay-up machine (HLM).
JDR supplies subsea umbilicals and power cables to the offshore energy industry. The new machine means the firm can provide the next generation of connectivity to the oil, gas and renewables sectors.