Top-class training pays dividends

BRIGHT FUTURE: Easington MP Grahame Morris with the successful trainees
BRIGHT FUTURE: Easington MP Grahame Morris with the successful trainees

TOP trainees are celebrating after completing a programme which is the first of its kind.

Twelve trainees have successfully come through an engineering course based at Caterpillar in Peterlee.

Their success story was completed when they received awards at a ceremony watched by Easington MP Grahame Morris, as well as representatives of the East Durham Business Service (EDBS), East Durham Engineering Forum (EDEF) and Durham County Council.

The trainee programme – the first of its kind in the area – was launched by the East Durham Engineering Forum in 2010 after its member companies raised concerns about a shortage of skills within the engineering industry and the lack of capacity to take on apprentices.

The programme took on 10 young people as engineering trainees on a year-long contract. It gave them the opportunity to “earn while they learn” with companies including BHK, MB Air Systems, NSK, Caterpillar, Actem, D W Marshall and Seaward. The programme received in excess of 120 applications when it was launched in March 2010.

Peter Chapman, EDBS chief executive, said: “It’s been extremely successful and I’m pleased to say all the trainees have now been offered full time employment by EDEF member companies.”

“We actually ended up above target with 12 trainees instead of the original 10 as two trainees were offered full time employment with their companies during the traineeship, opening up two extra trainee places on the programme.”

Mr Morris said: “All of the trainees involved in the project should be very proud of their achievement. It’s also important to recognise that this is a great example of public and private sector partnership here in east Durham, which has developed real benefit, to the engineering sector at a time when they needed support. For the trainees and the companies – the future is looking good.

Bill Marley, manager of EDEF, said: “The success of this programme proves that there is a demand for engineering trainees within the area and we have a partnership that works.

“We are looking to the future now and hope to obtain funding to run a second phase.”