A party of Year Ten pupils for The Northumberland Church Of England Academy, which has campuses in Ashington, Newbiggin and Lynemouth, visited regional employer Banks Mining’s Shotton surface mine near Cramlington to see how a modern surface mine operates.
The trip was designed to provide examples to the Academy pupils, all of whom are members of its Gifted & Talented programme, of the different types of engineering and mining jobs done by the Banks team at Shotton, and to show them the sorts of career opportunities in this sector that could be locally available to them when they leave school.
The visitors heard presentations on Banks’ operations at Shotton, the creation of the nearby Northumberlandia landform, the ways in which the site is managed and restored, and how Banks works with local communities to ensure tangible benefits result from its presence in the area.
Family-owned Banks employs around 200 people across the Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine sites, and contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain.
Mark Fox, The Northumberland Church Of England Academy careers advisor who led the trip, says: “We enjoyed a great visit to the Shotton site – our learners were amazed by what they saw and didn’t stop talking about it in the minibus all the way home!
“Our students have learnt a lot about the region’s engineering and mining heritage, but haven’t had much experience of what it currently has to offer in these areas, so we arranged this trip to give them a better understanding of its place in the North East today.
“Our hope is that what our learners saw at Shotton will widen their horizons and get them thinking about how they can realise their career ambitions within their home region, and we’re grateful to the Banks team for taking the time to host us for what was an extremely interesting and useful trip.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “The vast majority of our Shotton workforce live within a few miles of the site, and we’ve got lots of examples of local people who’ve worked their way up into management positions at the surface mines we’ve operated since our business was established in 1976.
“It’s always a pleasure to host young people who are keen to find out more about the work we do, and we hope our visitors will have found much food for thought during their time at Shotton.”
For more information about operations at the Shotton surface mine, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/shotton