Organic growth for college partnership

Staff at Fine Organics and their apprentices
Staff at Fine Organics and their apprentices

A COLLEGE is expanding into the process industry after joining forces with a firm for an apprenticeship programme.

Hartlepool College of Further Education is expanding its provision with an extended mechanical engineering department and a collaborative joint venture with Fine Organics, into the process sector.

The practical aspects of the apprenticeship will be delivered on site by Fine Organics qualified trainer/assessors with the underpinning knowledge delivered on a day release basis by the college.

The programme will take around three years to complete and will provide the company with the next generation of trained and competent process operators.

Successful applicants will complete a number of sector specific qualifications including an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Processing Industries Operations and a Level 3 Diploma in Process Technology. Simultaneously the college is opening the City and Guilds Process Technology course to other interested learners on a day release basis.

Steve Catchpole, director of operations at Fine Organics, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further education. With our business growing rapidly and with succession planning very much in our minds, we looked to the college to help us develop the next generation of process operators.

“Needless to say we were greatly impressed with the team, support functions and facilities that are available to our initial eight new apprentices.”

The engineering department at the college has responded to the surge in demand for both commercial and apprentice training and a new workshop area has been developed to vastly increase the variety and scope of mechanical engineering equipment and processes.

Working with C&A Pumps and GDF SUEZ, the college has recently commissioned a dedicated valve testing area which will accompany pump station, rotating equipment, fluid power and mechanical fitting training areas.

Recently purchased laser shaft and pulley alignment equipment, together with bearing induction heating capacity, will augment the existing comprehensive maintenance tool array.

Donations of surplus engineering components by those companies sponsoring apprentices will boost company-specific training.

Companies donating equipment include Sulzer Pumps, TATA Steel, ERIKS, Cummins, IMH, Expanded Metal, BAE Systems, Perry Process and NSK.