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AN engineering student is on the crest of a wave after securing an apprenticeship in the fascinating subsea sector.

Darlington College student Rosalyn Mitchell has been taken on by subsea specialists Supergrip, whose headquarters are in the town’s Coniscliffe Road, working four days a week in industry and one in the classroom.

The 19-year-old, of Catterick Garrison, who has completed a two year full-time extended diploma in engineering at the college, is already working on a pipeline project that will ensure the safety of gas workers in Malaysia.

She said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity. I always wanted to work in engineering, either in the air or below the sea, and at college hydraulics was my favourite subject. I was inspired on a school visit to the college when I was 14 and saw its subsea robot. I’m really enjoying the higher apprenticeship with Supergrip as I’m involved with real projects which are so varied.”

Supergrip director Gordon Conlon, of Newton Aycliffe, who also studied at Darlington College and now runs a company designing and engineering subsea products with co-director Darren Blackburn, said: “The apprenticeship scheme is a great way to study.

“It’s a tough sector but we trebled our turnover and profits last year and I wanted to take on someone as an apprentice to offer them a chance like I was given when I was young. Darlington College was brilliant at setting it all up and also introduced us to additional funding streams in the Tees Valley.”

Darlington College curriculum manager for engineering, science and automotive technology Neil Bowen said: “The apprenticeship scheme is a great way forward for students and employers. The student is paid to study and Rosalyn will come away with an HNC and the chance to gain an HND and B.Eng degree if she wants to continue her studies.

“The employer gains a motivated student whose knowledge is up to date with the very latest technology and practices. It’s great to see Rosalyn in engineering, an area where we are striving to break down stereotypical perceptions that it is a man’s world.”

Gordon added: “It has certainly worked well for us and it’s great to see Rosalyn working with our team on the subsea pipeline plug which will improve safety hugely for the maintenance engineers working on a gas line.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.

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