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Francis Brown collaborates with Teesside University to recruit apprentices

ByGlobal News Media

Jun 27, 2023
FRANCISBROWNweb5% Club: (Back L-R): Welding apprentices Bradley Ashley and Jake Smith, plater apprentice Gabriel Angus, and welder apprentice Jake McDonald with (front L-R) digital apprentice David Gourley and managing director, Duncan Warriner

Francis Brown is partnering with Teesside University to bring a more digitally focused approach to the business.

The independent Stockton-on-Tees company, which this year marks its 120th anniversary, is working with the University to recruit students to begin digital apprenticeships.

With the addition of two further welding and plating apprentices, Francis Brown has also joined The 5% Club, an employer-led UK charity whose members aspire to have 5% of their workforce in earn and learn positions, such as apprentices, sponsored students, and graduates on formal training schemes.

Its collaboration with the University is part of a new approach to introducing contemporary skills and knowledge into a traditional fabrication and engineering service that contributes to energy transition and decarbonisation through its involvement in the hydrogen and wider renewable energy sectors.

The family-owned firm is keen to embrace digital technology as part of its commitment to enhancing workforce engagement, best practice training, and improving workflow.

It plans to introduce the technology that will ensure everything from clocking on to risk assessments can be conducted online. The digital apprentice, who will enrol on a professional apprenticeship at Teesside University, will also work on its Project on a Page project that provides a real-time summary on a project’s performance and spend.

CEO Jamie Brown said: “We have remained a relevant and up to date business throughout our 120 year history by continually evolving and embracing new technology and innovation.

“Our new digital apprentice is the result of a partnership with Teesside University and as such they will help implement a range of initiatives, from enhancing the way we engage with our staff to developing Project on a Page.

“This provides real time information on the progress of a project and enables us to make an immediate response should it fall behind schedule. It’s a great example of how digital technology can complement our structures and systems by increasing efficiency and accuracy.

“As we prepare to create over four new apprenticeships, one with the assistance of Teesside University and the balance with support of local colleges, we are proud to become a member of The 5% Club, something that reflects our commitment to creating a range of career opportunities and developing a talented and motivated workforce.”

Ruth Chester, Head of Professional Apprenticeships at Teesside University, said: “Apprenticeships are an incredibly valuable way for organisations to nurture and grow the skills within their workforce, while giving employees an opportunity to gain academic qualifications while they work.

“We have specifically developed our Professional Apprenticeship strategy to provide industry-informed qualifications and a learning experience which put the needs of the apprentice first.

“Therefore, we are delighted to be able to help Francis Brown deliver its growth ambitions and support it as it looks to introduce new skills into its business.”

The recruitment of the apprentices builds upon the close working relationship Teesside University has had with had had with Francis Brown for many years.

Through the ERDF funded Grow Tees Valley project, Francis Brown was also able to access graduate talent to start its digital manufacturing journey.

Through its Growth Associate Programme, the project supported Francis Brown to take on a graduate to deliver a business intelligence and visualisation project.