SIX young apprentices have joined one of Wearside’s leading employers through a new relationship with Sunderland College.

Grundfos has been working with Sunderland College over the last few months to identify and recruit the new apprentices who joined the pump manufacturer at its Castletown plant in early September.

The apprentices have all started four-year Level 3 Engineering Fitter Standard and Level 3 Engineering Technician Standard courses.

Mark Lister, Grundfos’ General Manager, was himself an apprentice at the Castletown plant 19 years ago.

“I was delighted to welcome the new apprentices to the company, and we’ve enjoyed working with Sunderland College during the recruitment process.

“I’ve told the young guys that they’re at the start of what could be a great career with an important global company. I told them Grundfos is a company in which you can make your own path. If you start in one department, there is nothing to stop you moving to another, and that’s happened with so many of our team members, including me.”

Grundfos regularly offers apprentice opportunities – in January the company started five permanent employees on an adult apprenticeship programmes in which they’re studying a variety of qualifications alongside their day jobs. These qualifications include Level 4, Associate Project Manager Standard and Level 3, Team Leader/Supervisor Standard.

In June, two Grundfos apprentices completed four-year apprentice programmes. One went on to achieve an NVQ Level 3 in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering and topped this qualification up with further study to achieve a Foundation Degree in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering.

He continued with his studies with a BEng in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering and has just been awarded a First Class Honours Degree.

Another apprentice went on to achieve an NVQ Level 3 in Engineering Toolmaking, and topped this qualification up with further study to achieve a Foundation Degree in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering.

The latest group of apprentices will attend Sunderland College full-time for eight months and then work at Grundfos for four days a week, spending a fifth day at college.

The six apprentices, aged from 16 to 18, are: Joseph Mulvaney, who attended St Robert of Newminster Catholic School, Washington; Joe Wright, who attended St Aidan’s Catholic Academy; Nathan Anderson, who attended Sunderland College; Aaron Cappellar, who attended Sunderland College; Adam Wilde, who attended New College Durham and Brook Trotter, who attended Sandhill View Academy.

Nathan said: “We had to sit a test and then had an interview which was online because of COVID. I’m excited to have started the course and look forward to the next four years.”

Catherine Attwell, HR Director at Grundfos, said: “Grundfos takes training very seriously and we have a well-established apprenticeship programme that much of our workforce has been on. It’s great to welcome our latest cohort and we look forward to them becoming part of the Grundfos family.

“We’ve enjoyed working with the apprenticeship team at Sunderland College – it’s a new relationship and we’ve been very impressed by their approach and techniques. They helped identify and then recruit some first-class candidates for the places we had and they made the whole process very easy and straightforward.”

Iain Nixon, Group Vice Principal Partnerships and Commercial for Education Partnership North East, which incorporates Sunderland College, Northumberland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form, said: “Sunderland College is delighted to be working in partnership with Grundfos supporting them to recruit and develop new, young talent. The opportunities offered by Grundfos provide an ideal way for the successful apprentices to start their career and develop the job-specific skills they need.”

Grundfos, a Danish company, is the world’s leading pump manufacturer and employs more than 18,000 people globally. It opened a Wearside plant in 1973 and now employs nearly 150 people at its Castletown site.