A young Northumberland man has hit the accelerator on his career development after completing his Advanced Level Apprenticeship qualification in record time.
Twenty two year-old Drew Barber has been awarded his Advanced Level Apprenticeship certificate in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance by The Institute of the Motor Industry and the Federation of Industry Sector Skills & Standards just three years and four months after starting work towards it, which is a full six months fewer than it usually takes to get the work done.
Drew, who is from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, joined regional employer Banks Mining in 2012 as an apprentice at its Brenkley Lane surface mine near Cramlington, and trained as a mechanic on the company’s wide-ranging plant fleet, which includes everything from the 525-tonne O&K RH200 Mining Shovels to Caterpillar 789 off-highway dump trucks with a capacity of 180 tonnes.
He was named as Northumberland College’s Student Of The Year for 2015 in recognition of his studies at its Ashington campus which formed a core part of the bespoke apprenticeship programme that Banks Mining developed with the College.
Drew has now moved onto the next phase of Banks Mining’s plant department training matrix, which includes being enrolled in the online University run by plant industry giant Caterpillar to help him to further develop his knowledge, improve his skills base and take on more responsibility.
John Welsh, plants assets manager at Banks Mining, says: “Drew took up the challenges set when he joined our apprentice programme with exactly the right attitude and degree of application, and he has always impressed us with the way he’s gone about learning new skills.
“His achievement in completing his Advanced Apprenticeship in the shortest amount of time that we’re aware it’s been done in is very impressive, and is due reward for his commitment and dedication to his work.”
Banks Mining’s apprenticeship programme includes a comprehensive four-year training programme at the College as well as on-site work, and offers qualifications up to NVQ Level Three that are specifically relevant to the skills Banks requires, as well as supporting the apprentices in developing a wider range of skills and knowledge that they will be able to use throughout their working lives.
Three new apprentices were recruited from communities near the Shotton site at the end of 2015 as part of Banks’ continuing commitment to providing direct benefits to the area through its local operations.
John Welsh continues: “Young people need the chance to learn workplace skills that they can take with them right through their career, especially in areas like South East Northumberland where the number of opportunities to do this has diminished significantly in recent years with the changes in the local industrial landscape.
“The training that our new apprentices are receiving gives them the foundations on which to build successful careers – they’ve all settled in well, and Drew has set them an excellent example of what they can achieve with us.”
Around 140 people work at the Shotton site, alongside a further 60 at the nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine, and the two sites jointly contribute over £35m every year to the regional economy through wages, investment and the local supply chain.