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Dynamic partnership set to create high flying engineers of the future


Oct 9, 2016

A dynamic partnership which brings together the North East’s leading college and an internationally renowned engineering firm is set to keep the region at the top of its game in high technology industries.

Ford Engineering Group has chosen Gateshead College to deliver apprenticeships, workforce development programmes and traineeships as part of its plans to upskill its existing staff and create engineering career opportunities for young people.

The first apprentices have already started, splitting their time between Ford Engineering’s sites across the region and the college’s Team Valley-based Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics – a £5.5 million purpose built facility that has seen recent investment of more than £300,000 in state of the art machinery and tooling.

Upskilling programmes for existing staff kick off in October and will see the traditional day release model changed to on-site training, meaning there is minimal disruption to the daily operations of the business. Traineeships are currently in development and will run from September 2017.

Geoff Ford MBE, chairman at Ford Engineering Group, says: “There continues to be a chronic skills shortage in engineering and it’s our place as employers to be proactive in developing and nurturing the next generation of skilled workers.

“I first opened the Ford Engineering Academy back in 2013 with the aim of identifying talented youngsters with the right attitude and a thirst for knowledge who we could train to deliver exceptional levels of performance, service and quality for North East engineering businesses.

“It’s now time to refresh our training offer and I’m delighted to have Gateshead College on board as we set out to relaunch it. They quickly got to grips with how we operate and have identified training solutions that will help us to remain competitive while further increasing the capabilities of our talented workforce.”

Using its expertise in engineering training provision, the College is designing and customising a range of programmes aimed at preparing talented youngsters for the world of work, instilling a positive work ethos while equipping them with skills and knowledge in engineering fundamentals.

A workforce development programme will cater for existing staff, providing opportunities for upskilling people working across the factory floor as well as developing the managerial skills of team leaders and other senior employees.

Ivan Jepson, business development director at Gateshead College, adds: “The North East has a reputation for excellence in engineering and Ford in particular is recognised worldwide as one of the major players in the precision engineering industry.

“It’s fantastic to be working with such a high calibre company and playing a key role in helping them to maintain their position as a global market leader for manufacturing and engineering.”

Founded in 1910, Ford employs around 160 people and comprises Ford Aerospace and Ford Component Manufacturing which, between them, supply the aerospace, automotive and earthmoving equipment markets throughout the world. Among the high profile contracts on its books is the supply of parts for the world’s most popular short haul commercial jet, the Airbus A320.

Gateshead College has range of training and workforce development solutions which are tailored to individual business needs. For more information, call 0191 490 2258 or email employers@gateshead.ac.uk

By Emily