Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 16.50.55DOZENS of opportunities have been created for process apprentices after a unique link up between Hartlepool College of Further Education and a chemical firm.

The College has teamed up with Fine Organics to tailor a scheme which sees it deliver the technical certificate and other apprenticeship related qualifications , and the chemical firm delivering its own unique NVQ package.

The partnership has been in place since 2012, and is now starting to reap rewards after the first seven students graduated recently along with a further four who had specialised in the laboratory technician apprenticeship course.

There are currently a further eight process apprentices and four lab technicians in the early stage of the latest course, while the recruitment process for the next group of apprentices is well underway.

Graham Plant, Business Development Manager at Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “When we initially started speaking to Fine Organics, it quickly emerged that they wanted to take process apprentices, but that wasn’t something which we normally deliver.

“The business has its own suit of NVQ’s which is assessed and verified internally.

“It made sense for them to fit their training around exactly what they required, rather than taking on a generic training programme which would then have to be altered to fit their needs.

“What we have done is to provide the Technical Certificate to run alongside their NVQ in a sub-contract arrangement which is beneficial to both parties.

“They get a significant proportion of the funding, and we are now delivering process apprentices who are learning on the job and when they finish their three-year training programme they fit exactly into the in-house requirements.”

Graham added: “This is an innovative scheme, and while the company has got everything they need in terms of resources and results, we are getting learners that we wouldn’t normally have”.

“The students use the College for day release, and the feedback we have had is excellent so this is something we are looking forward to continuing with Fine Organics moving forward.”

Fine Organics, which is the chemical production facility within the Fine Industries group, supplies chemicals to a wide range of customers worldwide.

Arthur Sigsworth, Lean Manufacturing Co-ordinator at the Teesside-based plant, added: “This partnership benefits both parties, and while we have delivered our own training successfully over the last 20 years, we can now integrate this into the apprenticeship programme with the college delivering the other qualifications required for the apprenticeship framework.

“The College has given us a way of bringing new apprentices on board, and is also a partner which works with us and that is something which isn’t always the case with  other providers.

“Our training is unique, the apprentices hit the ground running through this partnership and our recruitment process for the next intake of apprentices is already at interview stage.

“The training does not stop on completion of the apprenticeship, the technical apprentices are encouraged to  follow that up with a foundation or higher degree as appropriate and many of our senior team in Production have started with us as apprentices and have moved through the organisation  we like growing and developing our talent.

“We have always viewed apprentices as a key part of our long-term plan.”

For more information about process apprenticeship delivery through Hartlepool College of Further Education, call Graham on 01429 404180 .

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