Three young people from South East Northumberland are taking their first steps on the career ladder after winning a place on a regional employer’s latest apprenticeship programme.
Jake Adkins from New Hartley, Max Anderson from Red Row and Owen Carr from Ashington have been chosen by Banks Mining to fill apprentice positions at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington.
The three new recruits will now undertake a three-year training programme which offers qualifications up to NVQ Level Three in disciplines specifically relevant to the plant skills Banks Mining requires, as well as helping the apprentices develop a wider range of skills and knowledge that they will be able to use throughout their working lives.
Each has been assigned a specific training role, in which they receive direct training and guidance from experienced members of the Banks Mining team, and they will rotate across different functions in the coming months to help widen the range of skills they’re able to develop.
As well as on-site work, the bespoke apprenticeships include a comprehensive study and training programme at Northumberland College, with which Banks Mining formed a recruitment and training partnership in 2012 as part of its continuing commitment to providing direct benefits to the community through its local operations.
The new apprentices have come through an extensive recruitment and assessment programme with the Durham-headquartered, family-owned firm, which included an initial two week course at Northumberland College which looked at a range of topics relating to the Banks apprenticeship, and a subsequent group visit to the Shotton surface coal mine to talk about the work that the successful candidates would do.
Six candidates were then chosen for a final interview, with practical help and advice now being provided by Banks Mining and Northumberland College to the unsuccessful candidates to help them find employment opportunities.
As part of the apprenticeship programme, Banks Mining makes a range of equipment on site available to the College, including engines, hydraulic systems and excavator buckets, which reflects the equipment with which the apprentices are now working on a daily basis. Visits to plant dealerships and suppliers
will also be arranged to help broaden the apprentices’ plant knowledge.
Around 140 people work at the Shotton site, alongside a further 60 at Brenkley Lane, and the two sites jointly contribute over £35m every year to the regional economy through wages, investment and the local supply chain.
John Welsh, plant assets manager at Banks Mining, says: “Giving young people opportunities to make their way in our industry is absolutely vital if the region is going to have a sustainable workforce that’s properly equipped with the practical skills that businesses like ourselves need to operate and compete.
“We invest a lot of time and resources into finding the right candidates to join our apprenticeship programme, and both the calibre and characters of those we’ve been assessing has been very impressive.
“Jake, Owen and Max are all bright, enthusiastic young men who showed a high degree of mechanical and personal aptitude in the interviews for these positions, and we’re confident that they will be able to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead of them.
“The training and development resource we’ll be offering our new recruits will not only help them gain skills that will serve them well while they’re working with us, but also right through their working lives, and it’s especially pleasing for us to be able to give young people from nearby communities this chance to start building successful careers for themselves.”